The Milky Way galaxy contains countless different species of organisms, both organic and artificial. However, while life in general is plentiful, sapient life is rare.[1] Only three organic sapient species are currently known: Guardian, Human, and Thargoid.

Sapient Species

Sapient species are capable of higher thought and culture. It is the property of possessing or being able to possess wisdom.[2] This goes beyond mere practical wisdom and includes self-knowledge, interconnectedness, conditioned origination of mind-states and other deeper understandings of subjective experience.[3]

Name Description Image


The Constructs are a sentient, robotic species that were created by the Guardians millions of years ago. It is unknown whether they still exist.[4]


The Guardians are an alien humanoid species who became extinct 1 to 2 million years ago. People are discovering the exact reasons why that happened.[5][6]

The Ancient Ruins were discovered in 3302 and the Guardian Structures in 3304. They used artificial intelligence, neural implants and the Monolith Network as the heart of the Guardians' society. The monolith network was used for practically all of their society's communication. The formal basis for the Guardians' communication behaviors was visual rather than verbal, a distinction that arose very early in their development. Their written language consisted of glyphs that evolved from a form of sign language that the Guardians developed while hunting to communicate stealthily. The only known living entities are the drone-like Guardian Sentinels.


Guardian Structure


Humans are the most well known species with a robust physiology. They are bipedal mammals and generally strong, fast and agile. They reach physical maturity at around 18 years old. Then they enter the workforce or continue their education for a profession. The average human lifespan is naturally about 79 years, but advanced biotechnology and cybernetics has substantially increased human lifespans. Humans primarily reside in a colonized region colloquially known as "the Bubble", which contains about 19,000 star systems. They originated from the single-star system Sol and the terrestrial planet Earth in the Orion-Cygnus Arm of the Milky Way.

As it has been throughout recorded history, mankind is not very prone to agreement over ethical, political, religious, and economic views. It remains this way today in the 34th Century, with the realm of human-colonized space held by numerous groups under various ideals, some benevolent and others not quite as much.

There are three major factions known as galactic superpowers and several Powers in human-colonized space. The Federation is based in Sol and is a representative-electing democracy. The Empire is based from the system of Achenar and is a hereditary monarchy. The Alliance is based from the system of Alioth and is a confederation of independent systems working cooperatively. Powers are powerful individuals or organizations who strive to control inhabited space for their own agendas in Powerplay. Each Power can control a vast amount of systems that is aligned to both major and minor factions. In addition to the three galactic superpowers and the powers, there are also many minor factions. The faction with the highest influence within the system will usually be the controlling faction of that system. System control falls on the faction that owns the controlling station. The government of a system is ruled by a controlling faction and if that faction is an anarchy no laws will apply in the system.


Human Male


Human Female

Sentient Machines

Machine sentience is banned in Federal, Empire and Alliance space since it proved to be very dangerous when it was created on a few occasions. AI which imitates humans is less advanced than machine sentience. However, it is believed that one or two AI (sentient machines) have escaped into deep space.[7][8]


The Thargoids are an alien insectoid species who are said to originate outside of known space, perhaps existing in a parallel universe or spacial dimension. They are very hostile and aggressive and have not been interested in diplomatic relations to date. Not much information has been obtained about Thargoid society or culture. The only known fact is that the society is hive based, with no sense of close family. It is thought that the society is divided into colonies, possibly along the lines of ant colonies. On January 5, 3303, the first encounter with a Thargoid Interceptor was reported. These ships were determined to be of Thargoid origin by Professor Palin.[9] The Thargoid Scouts appeared in September. Scavengers are biomechanical workers who reside at Thargoid Surface Sites.

Thargoid concept art rumored

Non-Sapient Species

Non-sapient species are living beings without the capacity for higher thought and culture for survival. They are sentient with the capacity to feel, perceive or experience subjectively.[10][11] Any creature with a brain and nervous system is conscious no matter how tiny the brain. Some are self-aware and think about themselves as individuals with their own thoughts and personalities.

Name Description Image

Baltah'sine Vacuum Krill

Vacuum Krill are astonishing creatures. One of the few species to live in the hard vacuum of space, they are native to the ice rings around Baltah'sine 4b. Their eggs grow in vast numbers in tiny water pockets within the rocks - kept liquid by secretions from the mother when the eggs are first laid. When mature, they eventually burrow their way out, propelling themselves between rocks with tiny excretions of fluid, in search of a mate.[12]

Bell Mollusc

Bell Molluscs are spacefaring creatures that resemble Earth-like molluscs and are shaped like bells.

Bell Mollusc

Bulb Mollusc

Bulb Molluscs are spacefaring creatures that resemble Earth-like molluscs and are shaped like bulbs.

Bulb Mollusc

Bullet Mollusc

Bullet Molluscs are spacefaring creatures that resemble Earth-like molluscs and are shaped like bullets.

Bullet Mollusc

Capsule Mollusc

Capsule Molluscs are spacefaring creatures that resemble Earth-like molluscs and are shaped like capsules.

Capsule Mollusc


Delines are rotund feline-like creatures with rich, black fur. They're indigenous to the Diso system.

Giant Irukama Snails

Giant Irukama Snails are a molluscoid species which resemble snails. They're native to Irukama and a food delicacy. The meat of one snail can fill several standard cargo canisters.[12]

Giant Verrix

The Giant Verrix is a hardy beast of burden now found throughout human space, especially on the emerging worlds of the outer rim, but naturally bred Verrix are very rare and highly prized.[12]

Gourd Mollusc

Gourd Molluscs are spacefaring creatures that resemble Earth-like molluscs and are shaped like gourds. They appear to communicate with each other using whale-like vocalizations, and shy away from any ships that approach them.
Space Squid

Gourd Mollusc

HIP Proto-Squid

HIP Proto-Squid are huge creatures of HIP 41181. They share many evolutionary similarities with the now extinct squid once found on ancient Earth.[12]


Itorilleta are the most cunning and fiercest creatures of Biggs Colony in the Altair system. They look like a cross between a dinosaur, a spider and a scorpion of old Earth and crowned with a waving mass of sensitive tentacles. They were mentioned in Frontier: Elite II lore.[13]


Karsuki Locusts

Karsuki Locusts are an insectoid species native to Karsuki Ti. They have a sweet flavor due to the native fungal parasites that infest their bodies.[12]

Ling Lang

The Ling Lang is a dangerous animal, a carnivorous or omnivorous life form. Some people keep it as a pet such as the Imperial Prince Aristide de Lavigny.[14]


The planet Capitol in the Achenar system had alien sentient life known as mudlarks. The mudlarks unintentionally went extinct due to human colonists who brought bacteria to the planet in the middle of the 23rd century. The bacteria were deadly for the indigenous species. There was not much appreciation for alien sentient life at the time.[15]

Parasol Mollusc

Parasol Molluscs are spacefaring creatures that resemble Earth-like molluscs and are shaped like parasols.

Parasol Mollusc

Reel Mollusc

Reel Molluscs are spacefaring creatures that resemble Earth-like molluscs and are shaped like reels.

Reel Mollusc

Squid Mollusc

Squid Molluscs are spacefaring creatures that resemble Earth-like molluscs and are shaped like squid.


Trumble are small, round, rapidly breeding creatures. If too many breed within a ship, they can be culled by overheating the ship near a star.[16] They are currently only in the original Elite.
Trumble Elite C-64


Umbrella Mollusc

Umbrella Molluscs are spacefaring creatures that resemble Earth-like molluscs with an exoskeleton. Their size is similar to a Krait Phantom.

Umbrella Mollusc

Whispering Plants

Whispering Plants are alien carnivorous species from Quphieth. It has a thick, fairly short trunk, with a fringe of bright blue plumes sticking out horizontally for a distance about half the height of the trunk, then a mass of astonishing red fronds at least twice the length of the trunk topped the whole thing off. It's sessile, and uses colour, odour and sound to attract its prey. They were mentioned in Frontier: Elite II lore.[17]

Whispering Plant

Non-Sentient Species

These are species that are not self-aware. They cannot view themselves as individuals.

Name Description Image

Amphora Plant

Amphora Plants are a type of Fungal Life that resemble an amphora, a type of container used by humans on Earth during the Neolithic Period.

Amphora Plant


Anemones are a type of Fungal Life that resemble giant Earth-like pumpkins.


Aster Pod

An Aster Pod is a seed pod produced by an Aster Tree.

Aster Tree

An Aster Tree is a plant-like organic structure that produces Aster Pods.

Bark Mounds

Bark Mounds are a type of Fungal Life that have been found at several locations around the galaxy.
Bark-Mounds-in-Witch Head Sector XE-Q B5-0 B 2

Bark Mounds

Brain Trees

Brain Trees are a type of Fungal Life found on several rocky and ice worlds.

Brain Trees

Calcite Plate

Calcite Plates are formations of calcium carbonate created by colonies of tiny, spacefaring polyp-like creatures.

Calcite Plate

Chalice Pod

A Chalice Pod is a type of seed pod found in space.
Chalice Pod Caeruleum

Chalice Pod

Collared Pod

A Collared Pod is a plant-like spacefaring organism with multiple bioluminescent spots on either side of its body.

Collared Pod

Crystalline Shard

A Crystalline Shard is a crystalline structure found on airless planets and moons.

Crystalline Shards

Gyre Pod

A Gyre Pod is a seed pod produced by a Gyre Tree.

Gyre Tree

A Gyre Tree is a plant-like organic structure that produces Gyre Pods.

Gyre Tree

Ice Crystal

Ice Crystals are icicle-like crystalline structures produced by spacefaring microorganism colonies.

Kachirigin leeches

Kachirigin leeches can painlessly filter impurities from the user's blood, so can be used as a cure-all for hangovers and the worst affects of certain addictions.[18]

Lattice Mineral Sphere

Lattice Mineral Spheres are mineral formations produced by colonies of spacefaring microorganisms.

Lattice mineral sphere

Metallic Crystal

Metallic Crystals are crystalline structures with a metallic cluster on their outer surface produced by spacefaring microorganism colonies.

Metallic Crystals

Mukusubii Chitin-Os

The Mukusubii Chitin-Os are chitinous native insects that are processed using industrial mining equipment, then re-constituted into convenient circles.

Mulachi Giant Fungus

The Mulachi Giant Fungus is a fungal life forms found in Mulachi can grow to occupy entire continents.

Octahedral Pod

An Octahedral Pod is a seed pod produced by the plant-like Void Heart structure.

Peduncle Pod

A Peduncle Pod is produced by the Peduncle Tree and carries its seeds. Peduncle Pods are capable of moving by expelling a kind of liquid or gas.[19]

Peduncle Pod

Peduncle Tree

The Peduncle Tree is a space-based organism with some of the qualities of a terrestrial plant. It produces Peduncle Pods.[19]

Peduncle Tree

Quadripartite Pod

A Quadripartite Pod is a type of seed pod found in space.

Quadripartite Pods


Radioplankton are tiny, free-floating, carbon-based algae. These water-based life-forms live underneath the surface of gas giants.

Rhizome Pod

A Rhizome Pod is a type of seed pod found in space.

Rhizome Pods

Silicate Crystal

Silicate Crystals are crystalline structures composed of silicate minerals produced by spacefaring microorganism colonies.

Silicate Crystals and ice crystals

Sinuous Tuber

Sinuous Tuber are vividly-colored, tubular organic structures with a superficial resemblance Earth tube worms.

Sinuous Tuber

Solid Mineral Sphere

Solid Mineral Spheres are mineral formations produced by colonies of spacefaring microorganisms.

Solid Mineral Spheres

Stolon Pod

A Stolon Pod is a seed produced by a Stolon Tree.

Stolon Tree

A Stolon Tree is a plant-like organic structure that produces Stolon Pods.

Stolon Tree

Thargoid Barnacle

A Thargoid Barnacle is an organic Thargoid structure that extracts resources from a planet and converts them into Meta-Alloys, a key component in Thargoid ships and technologies.

Thargoid Barnacle

Uszaian Tree Grub

The Uszaian Tree Grub was introduced to the system from Lave, in an attempt to create a wildlife reserve for endangered species.

Void Heart

A Void Heart is a plant-like organic structure that resembles a tangle of thorns with a glowing core. Void Hearts produce Octahedral Pods to spread their seeds.

Void Heart


Alien Life and Relics

Alien Life

The first alien life was discovered on Taylor Colony in the Tau Ceti system around 2160 in the 22nd century.[20] The Tau Ceti colonists ignored Earth's decrees and guidelines such as native ecological preservation and the exploitation of natural resources. The native wildlife was brought to near extinction levels over a period of approximately 20 years.[21] In 2242 The Federation Accord was signed which outlining certain rights and responsibilities for members, uniting many of the new colonies.[22] Now, the last remnants of the Tau Ceti aliens are in zoo enclosures for tourists.[23]

Non-Human Relic

The first non-human relic was found buried on Mars in 2280. The relic is no bigger than a child's hand and still surrounded in secrecy, even in 3300. There's no public information about its properties and origin other than being non-human.[24]

Life in the Galaxy

David Braben said "If you look at galactic history and life on Earth, as a percentage of time it has taken hundreds of millions of years to evolve and a small number of millions of years to evolve sentient intelligent life. By the 21st century humans are not a space faring race yet. So even by the 34th century it's still a tiny slice of time. You can imagine different populations spotting up and you wonder how long we will last which is slightly depressing, but you know we might go beyond. The point I'm trying to make is the chance of two races that are at the point of being able to interact whilst both are still alive is actually small. This is the basis for the story, because the beauty and interesting thing with things like artifacts and unknown probes is that it creates wonderful speculation and that great feeling of discovery. There's a lot of interesting things in the history of the game such as the Thargoids which are mysterious and very dangerous, that have been in previous games, even interacting with them and then suddenly disappeared. So there are a lot of interesting mysteries such as the alien ships with hyperdiction. In the previous games the Thargoids have been a very powerful race. We don't know whether the sightings are real or manufactured. We don't know how peaceful they are so we have to see how that pans out. This is perhaps the first story where millions people interact with the same story. Where people on all the different platforms are cooperating or competing with each other in the same servers and story. How the story unfolds is determined by how players react and what they do."[5]

Michael Brookes said in the Elite: Dangerous Fiction Diary #1: "Alien life in the galaxy is very plentiful. However, sentient life is very rare. So the various races and types of indigenous that was reported in the original elite are considered a dominant species of their planets, but they aren’t sentient species. As far as humans are concerned they’ve only encountered a small number of sentient species. There was a sentient race on Achenar which the people who later became the Imperials wiped out. There’s the alien artifact that was discovered in the solar system. That’s a mystery although we hope to reveal a little bit more about where that came from in the future. And, of course there’s the Thargoids" [1]


A summary of the alien story so far within Elite Dangerous, from the history of the Unknown Artefact to the discovery of the Barnacles.



  1. 1.0 1.1
  4. 6/28 : Civil War Log – Dawn of the Construct
  5. 5.0 5.1 Interview with David Braben - PAX East 2017 - Elite Dangerous
  6. 10/28 : Civil War Log – Annihilation
  9. Galactic News: The Thargoids have Returned
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 In-Game Description
  13. The Fiercest Creature on Altair, Stories Of Life On The Frontier by David Massey
  17. When a Plan Works Well, Stories Of Life On The Frontier by David Massey
  18. In-game description
  19. 19.0 19.1 Codex in-game description
  20. Tau Ceti In-Game Description
  21. The Founding of the Federation - GalNet
  22. Data taken from Tourist Spot 0174, Tau Ceti system
  23. Tau Ceti in-game description
  24. Tourist Beacon 0175
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