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- A mutalisk screams(src)

A swarm of mutalisks

The mutalisk is an airborne zerg breed. Terrans occasionally refer to mutalisks as "mutas."[1]


"He had seen this breed of zerg countless times in his primings, but close up, the mutalisk was infinitely more horrific. A mad perversion of tooth and claw, it had two leathery wings and eight hideous eyes that burned a sick orange-red. Spikes jutted along a scaled serpentine body that terminated in another fanged barb of a mouth, its cloaca."

- Iaalu(src)

A mutalisk during the Great War

Mutalisks are evolved from the mantis screamer from the desolate Dinares sector.[2] The current mutalisk form features a total of eight eyes.[3] An average mutalisk by the Second Great War was approximately 7 meters long, 1.25 meters in height, and 2.5 meters in width.[4]

Mutalisks communicate in part through scent, by means of different musks derived from its biological processes. The gaseous by-product of these processes is stored in special sacs located throughout the creature's body, where it can be reserved for spaceflight propulsion. To survive in deep space, the mutalisk became self-sufficient. Every cell in its body is host to myriad bacteria that either produce chemicals or assimilate them in order to generate compounds for sustenance. New mutalisk strains present certain genetic alterations to their cellular flora, resulting in more efficient bio-processes—to the point of tissue regenerating capabilities.[2] Its ability to pick up scents allows it to be keenly aware of other organisms, and a mutalisk can "smell" blood at a distance of over two klicks.

A mutalisk

Mutalisks have little instinct for self-preservation, living mere years, as their drive even in their feral state is to preserve the life of the spire. Mutalisks can often be whipped into a "frenzy" state, which Terran Dominion scientists dub the Higgs-Davis paroxysm behavioral model. According to this, mutalisk swarms will go into an frenzied state as a collective spire, rushing prey or a target with single minded fury.[5]

Mutalisks are amongst the most adaptable zerg subspecies.[5] Since before the Great War, mutalisks had the ability to evolve into guardians, which were based on the nesting form of the mantis screamer.[6] During the Brood War, the mutalisk gained the additional ability to evolve into the devourer, allowing it to take on capital ships. These two evolutions were retained until the Second Great War before they disappeared from the mutalisk genome, though many guardians and devourers still remained present in the sector. In the later stages of the conflict, Abathur created strains of mutalisk which could mutate into brood lords and vipers.[7] After the Battle of Tyrador IX, mutalisk of the Cerberus Program had assimilated traits of the Tyrador gigabat, giving them echolocative hunting behavior.[8]


A mutalisk after the Brood War

Mutalisks are carried aloft by leathery wings.[9] These appendages afford the mutalisk an astonishing degree of speed and maneuverability during atmospheric flight. Wing motion also generates energy that serves as a catalyst for the creature's internal biological functions.[2]

Like the mantis screamer, mutalisks can also travel through space,[10] and the rigors of deep space travel are a natural part of a mutalisk's life. The skin of their annelid-like bodies takes on a gelatinous consistency and seeps through the dermal layer. This process compacts their organs and circulatory system to prevent damage from external pressure.[2] It was unknown how mutalisks were able to travel through space initially,[10][11] but it was recently revealed that mutalisks excrete a gas which they can use to propel themselves in space.[12] Even when within a vacuum, they never stop flapping their wings—Dominion scientists have determined that[2] this is a leftover instinct[12] and unrelated to locomotion.[2] The gas itself is odorless.[13]


"Mutas are born to frenzy. Frenzy for food, frenzy to spread. Frenzy for blood. A mutalisk can smell a single drop of blood on the wind two klicks away."

- Breg Shaw, mutalisk hunter(src)

A Leviathan Brood mutalisk

Mutalisks are an infamous strain among terrans, known for their ability to shred through targets in a single attack.[14] In battle, mutalisks form the primary flying forces of the zerg, making hit-and-run attacks against vulnerable installations and wheeling across the skies in prodigious numbers above zerg nests or land-based forces. Many attempted engagements with the zerg have collapsed due to the rapid arrival of large numbers of mutalisks before any meaningful air defense could be mustered. Under these circumstances the total loss of the forces involved is virtually guaranteed. Conversely, powerful air defenses have succeeded in keeping mutalisks at a distance, for the creatures are limited in vitality. However, they remain agile and dangerous opponents. In large numbers or against weak defenses, mutalisks will always be a deadly threat,[15] and can ravage entire armies.[8] Mutalisks comprise a vast number of the Leviathan Brood's forces. It is said they function as one mind in battle, a singular unyielding mass that blacks out the sky.[16]

The mutalisk is not an especially intelligent creature and exercises little initiative, preferring to drift lazily through the air. Once engaged however, it demonstrates a blind bloodlust that makes it dangerous to all those around it, including itself.[17] In addition, mutalisks are able to trace terran transmissions to their source.[18]

When feral, mutalisks will attack in hunting parties of five or more searching for prey, often going over 100 klicks away from their spire to find nourishment. This pattern makes feral spires possible to locate based on feral mutalisk attack patterns.[5]

Glaive Wurm[]

Main article: Glaive wurm
"Horner: "Sir? I've detected large numbers of mutalisks closing in on you. They'll be in position to attack any moment now."
Raynor: "We better step it up and save these folks before it starts raining glaive wurms.""

Mutalisks firing glaive wurms

The mutalisk spawns small, voracious creatures called "glaive wurms", or "glave wurms", and projects these creatures to attack. Glaive wurms fly between multiple targets as they degrade explosively.[19] The mutalisk's reproductive system—its ovipositor—has been adapted into a weapon delivery system.[5]

Acidic Blood[]

A mutalisk's fangs are also deadly and given that mutalisk blood is acidic when exposed to atmosphere, able to melt through even CMC armor, such close quarters are hardly favorable to a mutalisk's intended victim(s). This is due to the blood breaking down into a fluoroantimonic compound when the mutalisk's carapace is compromised.[5] This being said, the mutalisk is not without its vulnerabilities. Its own acidic blood is injurious to itself and its wings are exceptionally fragile, able to be shredded even by glass.[18] As such, it is a viable tactic for terrans to aim for the wings when trying to down a mutalisk.[20]

To compensate, mutalisks can develop a natural tolerate to their spire mates' corrosive blood, but the vast majority cannot develop an immunity to their own.[5]

The acidic blood frustrates Dominion scientists, as it has made it difficult to dissect a corpse.[5]

Canny Mutalisks[]

A mutalisk during the Second Great War

Mutalisks have a minor resistance to their acidic blood, but few live long enough to develop a greater resistance due to their lack of self-preservation instinct. On very rare occasions, less than one in a million, a "Big Fish" or "Canny Mutalisk" will develop immunity. The Terran Dominion Special Research Ops sought such a mutalisk, as they would finally be able to dissect one. Eventually, one such mutalisk was captured on Choss.[5] The corpse was transported in a coldbox to Project Blackstone.[21]

Game Unit[]


For StarCraft gameplay information see: Mutalisk (StarCraft).

StarCraft: Ghost[]

StarCraft: Ghost mutalisk

StarCraft Ghost Logo2.jpg

This article or section contains information about StarCraft: Ghost, which has been declared non-canon. Elements may be taken as 'flavor lore' however.
The content may be significantly out of date. Please do not add speculation to this article, and remember to cite a published source for details.

The mutalisk cannot regenerate like most other zerg units; instead, it can abduct land-bound terran units, draining their life (which restores the mutalisk's health). The mutalisk's attack is a powerful bio-plasma attack that does splash damage; the attack becomes more powerful if charged.[22]

The mutalisk is the most expensive zerg unit in the Invasion Mode, costing five points.[23]

StarCraft II[]

For StarCraft II gameplay information see: Mutalisk (StarCraft II).

Heroes of the Storm[]

Heroes DevLog2.jpg

The following section contains information from Heroes of the Storm and is not canon to StarCraft continuity

A mutalisk attacking in Heroes of the Storm

Zagara can choose to amplify her spawn Hunter Killer ability to spawn mutalisks.[24]

Special Mutalisk Strains[]

A swooping mutalisk



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  15. StarCraft II-Mutalisk. Accessed on 2008-03-10
  16. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Collections Tab: Skins. July 19, 2017
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  24. 2014, Zagara. Heroes Nexus, accessed on 2014-06-27