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Compared to other zerg strains, lurkers are arachnid in appearance. Evolved from the hydralisk, these creatures are powerful anti-ground ambushers, and are one of the rare zerg strains that can attack while burrowed. When above ground, the lurker stands roughly twice as tall as a terran wearing CMC armor.
Lurkers serve as defense warriors for hive clusters and outlying zerg colonies, but their primary role extends to supply line harassment. To attack, lurkers emit waves of super-dense spines against their enemies, having a full width of damage of ten meters. However, lurkers must actually burrow underground to release these subterranean attacks. Any warriors on the surface who are caught by these spines are instantly impaled. These spines themselves are capable of tearing into flesh, steel, and even reinforced armor plating, and can extend far from their bodies. The spines can even be directed downward into open spaces, provided the lurker is underground. As such, even a handful of lurkers can turn an innocuous chokepoint into a nightmare, and they have been known to ambush forces traveling through tight corridors and chokepoints. The spiked eruptions are sometimes so powerful that they deal seismic damage to nearby units. The spines have rarely been seen above ground, and it is unclear to many terrans where the spines actually come from in the lurker's body, although some strains can shoot spines from their frontal legs while above ground. Within the Leviathan Brood, the innate connection between hydralisks and lurkers is unparalleled among the Swarm. As such, their metamorphosis yields a considerable number of additional seismic spikes.
The only weakness of the lurker is that it is virtually defenseless while above ground, over which it is carried by slow-moving ambulatory legs. Here, the lurker is a lumbering, defenseless entity. However, by the Battle of Camp Pitcairn some strains of lurkers had adapted to fire spikes and use their jaws above ground.
Lurkers were first evolved from Tiamat Brood hydralisks. By the Brood War, they were one of the newer strains within the Swarm. They were first observed under the command of the Queen of Blades within the conflict, though for terrans, it was technically the lurker's handiwork that was the first indication of their existence.
During the Second Great War, Abathur discovered a group of feral lurkers on Cavir, left over from the Tiamat Brood in the Brood War. The Swarm was able to find a lurker den and protect from the feral zerg long enough for Broodmother Kilysa to recover its essence.
- For StarCraft gameplay information see: Lurker (StarCraft).
This article or section contains information about StarCraft: Ghost, which has been declared non-canon. Elements may be taken as 'flavor lore' however.
- For StarCraft II gameplay information see: Lurker (StarCraft II).
Heroes of the Storm
In Heroes of the Storm, Dehaka has the ability to gain a talent named "Lurker Strain," a reference to the unit. Anub'arak has an "Anub'alisk" skin which is designed to look similar to a lurker, and changes his spikes to be similar to a lurker's attack.
- StarCraft: Speed of Darkness makes reference to zerg lurkers being active on Mar Sara during the Great War. However, within the novel, the term "lurker" appears to be used as a descriptive while other zerg strains are capitalized within the novel. The "lurkers" likewise attack by jumping from above rather than burrowing and using spines.