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"It's a zergling, Lester...smaller type of zerg..."

- Sarge to Lester after hitting a zergling with their LRV(src)

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A zergling

The zergling is the basic zerg warrior.


Zerglings are a zerg warrior strain which serve as the swarm's frontline assault troops.[1]


"See? They ain't so tough. These critters bleed just like anybody else."
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A zergling during the Great War

Zerglings form the most numerous of the zerg mutations,—their simple DNA[2] (distilled from the dune runners' genetic code to its most simple form)[3] allows two zerglings to be spawned from a single larva. The larvae get the genetic information from the 'primordial ooze' of spawning pools.[2] Zergling replication is so efficient that they thrive even when exposed to exceedingly high mortality rates,[3] which are greater than almost all other zerg strains.[4] While their core DNA comes from the dune runner, zerglings are hybridized from over fifteen other organism strains.[5]

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A zergling after the Brood War

Zerglings are the smallest mainline zerg strain apart from the larvae[6] and chitha.[7] Equivalent in size to a large dog, zerglings are one meter tall and possess webbed feet.[8] Zerglings possess sickle limbs and sharp incisor teeth, used primarily for tearing into flesh.[1] Further mutations may be made to zergling DNA, namely the alteration of their physiology through a metabolic boost to increase their reflexes and rate of movement and the mutation of their adrenal glands, changing their glandular balance to induce a battle frenzy.[2] These adrenal glands have been observed to be unusually large for a creature of the zergling's size. Further analysis has revealed evidence of genetic manipulation, which also increased zergling aggression, driving them into a state of frenzy. In such a state, zerglings can bring down armored vehicles and structures with ease.[3] Dominion marines have referred to such zerglings as "speedlings."[1]

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A zergling during the Second Great War

The rapid genesis modification to zergling cells allows their gestation to proceed at remarkable speed.[9] Zerglings have tough, adaptable,[10] leathery skin which prevents moisture loss, while still allowing fluid circulation to keep the zergling's body temperature at appropriate levels. As per their origins, zerglings have an efficient nutrient storage system. Zerglings can derive the necessary compounds for life (even water) from anything they eat. This allows zerglings to operate away from a hive cluster for extended periods of time.[3] The nervous system of zerglings is hyperactive, so much so that those enslaved by the Cerberus Program required two antennas per zergling to control their movement.[4]

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A zergling bursts out from the ground

Zerglings are physically adaptable creatures, able to climb near vertical surfaces and are extraordinarily fast,[11] though they are generally easy to exterminate, one ending up as roadkill after being run over by a recon vehicle.[12] Zerglings have a complex optical structure,[10] and their eyes have an optical aperture which allows them to see in the dark. This ability is further enhanced by a layer of tissue that reflects light, and the production of a substance which, depending on saturation levels, makes a zergling's eyes glow orange or red. This glow is an indicator that a zergling's vision has fully adapted to whatever low-light conditions it has found itself in.[3] However, zergling eyes have also appeared as pure black in such conditions.[6]


A Leviathan Brood zergling

The zergling's spiked tail allows the creature to maintain balance while running at high speeds. The spikes that extend from the tip have no discernable purpose, and Dominion scientists have speculated that it is vestigial from their dune runner forebears.[3] By the Second Great War, some zerglings were observed to possess venational wings, which are used to increase ground acceleration.[1] Spikes jut from the bodies of Leviathan Brood zerglings as a byproduct of their extremely simplified DNA. These spikes are retained even when Leviathan zerglings metamorphose into banelings.[4]

Zerglings are allergic to lemon juice.[13] During the Second Great War, its validity became a Terran Dominion rumor.[14] Abathur resolved to solve the problem.[13]


"Um...ever try to wrestle a zergling? Not fun."
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Zerglings on the charge

Zerglings truly embody what "swarm" means to the zerg.[1] When they attack, zerglings move in large groups, ranging from a dozen to a hundred.[8] Zerglings can act as "meat shields" for more powerful zerg strains,[8] but can also overwhelm their foes through sheer weight of numbers.[1] Individually, zerglings are little more than feral animals, but work well in large groups under the command of larger zerg warriors,[2] moving under one mind.[1] In combat, zerglings are fond of ripping enemies to shreds with their sickles and fangs.[2] When paired with roaches, they can be nearly unstoppable against marines bereft of siege tank or bunker support.[15] In general, zerglings hunt and patrol in pairs.[16]

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Zerglings overrun a siege tank

Outside of combat, zerglings can serve as lookouts[3] and lone zerglings serve as scouts.[8] Their raw speed and expendibility make them well suited for this role,[1] though they may have a retinue of hydralisks if they scout an exceedingly long distance away from a hive cluster.[12]


"Sir! We've got incoming! And I'll be damned if I can identify 'em!"

- A Confederate marine upon first encountering zerglings(src)

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A zergling c. 2505

Zerglings were evolved from the Zz'gashi dune runner when the latter were assimilated into the Zerg Swarm. The zergling may be a relatively recent addition to the swarm given that Zz'gash seems to be located close to the Koprulu sector.[17] Zerglings continued to evolve after the Brood War, gaining the ability to metamorphose into banelings. The evolution came from an experiment conducted by the zerg at the Dominion colony of Sorona, in which they incorporate a native acidic mold into their body structure.[18] This evolution was controlled by the new queen breed.[19]

The Terran Dominion has a secret program which uses zerglings to track psychic terrans.[20]

Other Information[]

The following section contains information from Heroes of the Storm that is ambiguously canonical.
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A zergling

The simplicity of the zergling's DNA allows for rapid mutation and enables adaptation to myriad environments.[21]

Game Unit[]


For StarCraft gameplay information see: Zergling (StarCraft).

StarCraft: Ghost[]

StarCraft Ghost Logo2
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.
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The zergling in StarCraft: Ghost

Zerglings in StarCraft: Ghost maintained their burrowing and health regeneration abilities. In addition, zerglings gained a "bloodlust" ability, which increased their damage and possibly speed when zerglings moved in groups.[22]

The zergling was the basic zerg unit in the Invasion Mode. It could transform into a hydralisk, infested marine or mutalisk, costing one, two and five points respectively.[23]

They were present as early as one of the game's earliest builds.[24]

StarCraft II[]

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



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The following section contains information from the Warcraft series and is not canon.

A zergling unit appears in Warcraft III.

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World of Warcraft vanity pet

In World of Warcraft, zerglings appear as "vanity pets" and look much like in Warcraft III but are shorter, fatter, lack the spiked tail, are solid brown, and have wider mouths. They look generally cartoony, befitting their status as non-combat vanity pets.

The zergling pet will attack Grunty the murloc marine, who will also attack them.[25]

Heroes of the Storm[]

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

Zerglings are available as mounts in Heroes of the Storm.[21]

Zerglings appeared as minions in early builds of Heroes of the Storm.[26] Kerrigan could ride a zergling mount in later builds.[27] Formerly, Kerrigan could choose to amplify an ability to also spawn zerglings, but this was removed in July 2016.[28]

Zerglings can be spawned on the map Braxis Holdout, and are part of the zerg attack waves that are sent against opponents.[21]

Known Zerglings[]

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Zerglings attacking a reaper

Variant Strains[]



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A zergling


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A Carbot-styled zergling

  • The zergling is often nicknamed "ling" in online culture. The Metabolic Boost zergling is often nicknamed "speedling" and the Metabolic Boost and Adrenal Glands zergling is often nicknamed "crackling."
  • Zerglings were used as the basis of PETA's "Zerglings Have Feelings Too" campaign.[29]
  • Zergling action figures can be found scattered around in the Blizzard World map in Overwatch. When shot, the action figures will give the zergling death sound.


  • A baneling/zergling reversible plushie was available at BlizzCon 2013, along with a Carbot Animations-style zergling T-shirt.[30] A San Diego Comic Con special edition of the reversible plushie allowed the zergling to turn into a hunter baneling.[31]
  • A Carbot-style zergling lanyard was available at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con.[32]
  • A zergling rubber keychain is available through[33]
  • A Carbot Animations zergling plush is available for sale on the store.[35]
  • A set of zergling plastic "army men" were sold on the store, and are still available on Amazon.[36]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Barba, Rick. StarCraft Field Manual (hardcover). Insight Editions, November 17, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Unit: Zergling, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2010-12-15.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Collections Tab: Skins. October 17, 2016.
  5. Blizzard Entertainment. Project Blackstone, accessed on 2013-06-28.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hickman, Tracy (May 21, 2002). StarCraft: Speed of Darkness. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04150-9.
  7. Zahn, Timothy (November 8, 2016). StarCraft: Evolution. Del Rey Books. ISBN 0425284735.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Bill Slavicsek, David Eckelberry, Shawn F. Carnes. Alternity: StarCraft Edition. Wizards of the Coast, March 1, 2000. ISBN 0-7869-1618-4.
  9. Heart of the Swarm Screenshots, Kotaku. Accessed on 2011-07-08.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Baneling, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2011-01-19.
  11. Mesta, Gabriel (July 1, 2001). StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel'Naga. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04149-5.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Cinematic: Wasteland Patrol. (in English). 1998.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Evolution pit units (in English). 2013.
  14. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mengsk Talks: UNN newscast after "Cutthroat." (in English). 2010.
  15. Kenyon, Nate. (September 27, 2011). StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-1439-10938-0.
  16. Blizzard Entertainment. Project Blackstone, accessed on 2013-02-06.
  17. Zergling. StarCraft Compendium. Accessed on 2008-01-04.
  18. Dayton, Cameron. "Broken Wide." (March 5, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Broken Wide Accessed 2010-03-05.
  19. 2008-05-23. Baneling. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2008-05-23.
  20. Benjamin, Paul and Dave Shramek (w), Sevilla, Hector (p, i). "War-Torn." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 3 (paperback binding), pp. 6-47. Tokyopop, July 14, 2009. ISBN 978-1427-80832-5.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Blizzard Entertainment. Heroes of the Storm. (Blizzard Entertainment) (in English). June 2, 2015.
  22. BlizzCon 2005 StarCraft: Ghost information. Zerg units. Artist: Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2007-09-08.
  23. Park, Andrew. 2005-10-28. Starcraft: Ghost Updated Multiplayer Hands-On - Zerg Rush! Gamespot. Accessed 2008-11-09.
  24. July, 2016, STARCRAFT: GHOST: WHAT WENT WRONG. Polygon, accessed on 2016-07-08.
  25. Robin Torres. 2009-08-25. Grunty vs. Zergling battle video. Accessed 2009-09-10.
  26. 2014-05-21, Blizzard set out to make a StarCraft mod, and instead reinvented gaming's most popular genre. Polygon, accessed on 2014-05-22.
  27. Mike Fahey. 2011-10-24. The Queen of Blades is No Match for the New and Improved Blizzard DOTA. Kotaku. Accessed 2012-05-13.
  28. 2014, Kerrigan. Heroes Nexus, accessed on 2014-06-22.
  29. 2013-03-11, PETA Reminds StarCraft Players That Zerglings Have Feelings, Too. PETA, accessed on 2014-05-12.
  30. 2013-10-18, (Updated) BlizzCon® Store Online Sale Open Now Through November 9. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-10-20.
  31. 2017-07-08, 2013 Starcraft Zergling / Baneling Plush Sdcc Blizzcon Reversible., accessed on 2017-07-08.
  32. 2014-06-30, San Diego Comic Con 2014 – Blizzard Entertainment Announces Exclusive Merchandise. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-07-25.
  33. 2017-07-08, StarCraft II Zergling Rubber Keychain., accessed on 2017-07-08.
  34. 2015-10-22, StarCraft Zergling Plush Slippers. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-10-22.
  35. 22017-07-08, StarCrafts Zergling Plush. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2017-07-08.
  36. 2017-07-08, Starcraft II Bag O' Zerglings 1:32 Scale Collector Army Men Figures ., accessed on 2017-07-08.