The Andromorph, or Pack Xeno is a subspecies of the more commonly seen Xenomorph, with significantly differing social behavior and morphological castes. The subspecies exists both in symbiosis and in competition with the more mainstream Xenomorph hive-based strain, however the exact relationship the two strains have, either on a genetic or social level, is the subject of much debate amongst Xenobiological circles.
The Andromorph is so named because of the common misconception that the likely hermaphroditic Xenomorph specimens encountered are 'female' in a way similar to Terran social insects. The Andromorph is notable for displaying characteristics more commonly associated with dominance hierarchies in Terran social mammals. In addition to this, the Andromorph's reproductive cycle and social behavior is significantly different to that of its Hive-based counterpart, drawing disturbing parallels to hominid male reproductive behavior.
Despite being of the same species, Andromorphs and Xenomorphs have a mercurial relationship. They oftentimes mercilessly compete for resources, and will kill each other on sight with little provocation. Sometimes, however, Andromorph packs can be seen associating symbiotically with Xenomorph Hives, a behavior theorized to be related to fertilizing Queens. It should be noted that despite these parallels, it is a misconception to think of Andromorphs as 'male' any more than a Xenomorph drone is 'female.'
It is currently unknown by Xenobiologists if Andromorphs are a naturally occurring, albeit rarely seen manifestation of the Xenomorph reproductive cycle, a naturally occurring mutation, or an intentionally created, artificial strain.
The Andromorph is slightly taller than a typical Xenomorph drone, with a notably more spiked carapace. It is armed with sharpened claws, a venomous tail and acidic blood, just like a Xenomorph. The most notable divergence from the typical Xenomorph anatomy is that Andromorphs possess an Ovipositor in place of their secondary mouths, similar to a Facehugger. This appendage is used to orally impregnate potential hosts in a manner akin to a Facehugger, which gestate rapidly and grow into functional drones within hours. In this way, these Xenomorphs bypass the Egg and Facehugger phase of the Xenomorph life-cycle. Unlike a Facehugger, however, Andromorph speed-gestation is far less stable than the Hive-based strain, and hosts and larvae rarely survive, perhaps explaining the rarity of the subspecies.
The Andromorph drone behaves similarly to a Xenomorph counterpart, being a stealthy, intelligent and deadly hunter. Andromorphs are likelier to coordinate with each other to outflank prey, relying on aggression and teamwork to run their prey down. Andromorph drones are quadrapedal, similar to runners, however they are capable of bipedal balance, which they use for combat.
One Andromorph eventually proves itself the 'Alpha' of the pack, undergoing a transformation into a more complex creature. This creature is a substitute for the Queen caste seen in normal Xenomorphs. The Alpha is only slightly smaller than a Queen, being a towering monstrosity with extreme strength and durability. While physically stronger than a Xenomorph queen, Alphas are notably less creative and prone to frenzy. The Alpha is capable of commanding the pack's Andromorphs in a similar fashion to a Queen.
In large enough packs, some drones may morph into Praetorians, which act as the Alpha's guards and enforcers.
Andromorphs stand distinct from almost all other strains of Xenomorphs in that they are not Hive based. Andromorphs gather in packs, similar to groups of Terran canids, with the Alpha leading a pack of typically three to seven Andromorph drones with larger packs having Praetorians that act as enforcers and guards of the Alpha. Andromorphs are fiercely competitive and territorial, and packs will fight both other Xenomorphs and other Andromorphs for prey and hosts. Because of the high fatality rate of hosts impregnated by Andromorphs, it is theorized they have an even stronger reproductive instinct than their Hive based counterparts.
At certain times, Andromorphs can be seen acting in symbiosis with Hive Xenomorphs. During this time, packs of Andromorphs can be seen guarding Hives, assisting in finding prey and securing hosts. It is theorized that if Andromorphs are a naturally occurring branch of the species, this may be when a fertile Alpha and Queen may mate, if such a procedure is necessary. These peaceful times rarely last long.
- The Andromorph is similar to the genetically engineered 'male' Xenomorph created on Charon Base. They are also similar to the Red Xenomorphs, another 'rival' faction to the mainstream Hive breed. They are also thematically similar to Patrick Ross' alien form in Species II, another franchise based on H.R. Giger designs.
- The art used to represent the Andromorphs is that of a Predalien, the Rogue, and the Alpha (a similarly named though entirely different Xenomorph form)