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The host's rib cage is cracked open, bones bent outward. No one has survived this process. However, Ripley was cryogenically frozen after she was cloned, and then had it surgically removed.
It was also revealed that high amounts of stress can actually make the chestburster more frantic. This causes it to push and chew through the chest at a faster pace, therefore emerging slightly earlier than normal.
On one occasion, the chestburster erupted out of the head of a host Human instead of the chest. It is suggested that the removal of the chestburster would still lead to the death of the host due to the remaining alien tissue acting like a malignant tumor, in effect developing into a fatal cancerous growth.
At this stage, the Xenomorph is small, limbless, and very vulnerable. Among other possibilities, its neck can be snapped.
It needs to get to a safe area so it can reach its next life stage. It moves with its long tail, and can coil up and jump.
It cannot climb on walls or ceilings, but despite these drawbacks it can traverse an area with astonishing speed. In some cases, they turn into a cocoon  , though this could be a subspecies.
The common assumption is that the alien molts, grows legs, and develops much like a tadpole turning into a frog. Another common theory the most accepted one is that chestbursters shed their skin upon growing, as shown when Brett picks up a chestburster skin he found on the floor in an area the chestburster took shelter in.
At very rare times the chestburster emerges after the host has already died, which has been observed in an ox .
Why the ox died after it was implanted is unknown; though the most likely reason would be due to a combination of the stress of implantation coupled with the poor health of the animal.
It is seen to be riddled with parasites and presumably spent much of its life in the harsh environment of Fiorina "Fury" Strangely, in this circumstance, the chestburster lived.
This was also seen after the Empress killed a Predator and the chestburster survived. In some cases, morphological traits acquired from the host may already be visible in the chestburster stage, for example: a chestburster born from a Yautja will already display the characteristic mandibles of the race.
Some types of chestbursters already have legs when they emerge, including the royal chestburster and the "Runner".
A variation of this stage is known as the bellyburster , which erupts from the host's abdomen, rather than chest.
These seem to be formed when the host is a pregnant female, and the alien embryo develops inside her womb, presumably feeding on the fetus.
A Predalien has been observed to impregnate several hosts with multiple embryos each, which later gave rise to bellybursters.
Since multiple bellybursters can develop inside a single host's womb, they can be used as an efficient way for a young future-Queen to establish a new hive faster.
Little is known about the transformation that occurs between the chestburster and adult phases. As already stated, the Xenomorph appears to molt before reaching maturity.
Maturity is reached in a few hours, and involves a dozen-fold increase in mass, which would presumably require some form of nourishment.
In the Nostromo , Ripley comes across a food locker that had been raided, apparently by the Xenomorph to get food. When the first Drone encountered on record was born in the Nostromo , it had a smooth, long head, and an upright-standing body.
It had no visible eyes, a tail, and strange spines protruding from its back. However, many years later on LV, the same species was found, but they looked slightly different.
The head was no longer smooth, but ridged. One theory is that the smooth-headed Xenomorph was a Drone, and the ridge-headed Xenomorphs were Warriors.
This is supported by the fact that the alien aboard the Nostromo built a nest, which only Drones can do since it is part of their job in the colony.
Another widely accepted idea, however, is age - the Xenomorphs found on LV were more than a few days old, while all of the others encountered were less than a day old.
On the other hand, some hives seem to have a distinct coloration for each caste, in which the Drones are black and the Warriors are a very dark blue; the color difference indicating that age is not a factor.
Another variation was encountered on an expedition to Antarctica. These Warriors were less humanoid and sometimes walked on all fours.
Their tails were longer, with a large, curved barb at the end. The head was smooth but much shorter than normal.
It is important to note, however, that this particular Xenomorph hive was grown by the Predators, who introduced a hormone with unknown effects into the Queen's system.
As the Xenomorph has been shown to be an extremely adaptable organism, which lays hundreds of eggs, develops quickly and is highly efficient at altering its own genome to better fit the environment absorbing traits from its hosts , it's very likely that some phenotype variations are simply the result of genetic variation between different populations, which evolve very fast.
Like normal Xenomorphs, a Predalien gains traits from its host. From the chestburster stage, it is noticeably different from other Xenomorphs.
It is a somewhat dark shade of green with external mandibles, due to its Predator Yautja heritage. They lack speed, and their acid blood is not as deadly as a normal Xenomorph's.
If a Predalien is part of a hive that has no Queen, it may serve as Queen due to its reproductive capabilities - its mandibles hold the host's head in place while its inner mouth implants one or more Xenomorph embryos into the host's throat, similar to the function of a facehugger.
Up to four Xenomorph embryos may be planted in a host, if the Predalien needs to build up numbers quickly.
It also possesses higher intelligence than normal Xenomorphs. Though an accepted breed among the Xenomorphs, the Yautja believe this kind to be abominations that must be vanquished by any means necessary.
Runners , a. They act as scouts for the hive, likely due to their quadrupedal and fast nature. Runners are tinged a noticeable brown and run on four legs like the host they hailed from.
However, they will walk and stand on two legs sometimes. On their back, there are no dorsal tubes, likely for better head mobility.
Unlike most Aliens, they are digitigrade i. Their chestbursters are not as larval as the other aliens, but rather a smaller, pale version of themselves.
The Runner is all about speed and agility, perhaps one of the fastest castes of Xenomorph ever encountered. It stalks its prey much like a lion or tiger, waiting for an unfortunate victim to come about and killing them outright, rather than cocooning them in a nest like others would.
They are known to use stealth, just like their siblings. Although not as strong as other castes, Runners are still strong enough to lift a full grown Human.
Like other Xenomorphs, they're also known to attack the head of their prey with their pharyngeal jawed tongues, and are capable of spitting acid.
Runners are shown to be more animalistic in nature and are not the sharpest caste in the hive. They do have some intelligence, but not as much as their bipedal counterparts.
The Runner on Fury utilized hit and kill tactics, rather than capturing creatures and cocooning them in an established nest.
They are smart enough to not harm any members of their own kind, especially hosts impregnated with larval Queens. This was seen when Ellen Ripley was in the medical bay of the Fury penal colony.
After the Dragon killed Chief Medical Officer Jonathon Clemens, it quickly turned to Ripley, who was horrified of the creature and despite its intimidating moves towards her, left her completely unscathed.
It even tried to protect Ripley from Leonard Dillon who was trying to get her away from it while it was trapped in a corner.
Conversely, this same individual has also demonstrated a desire for revenge, even against those carrying unborn Xenomorphs.
This was seen after it was drowned in hot lead and managed to survive. This led to the creature chasing after Ripley until she dowsed it in water from the sprinklers, causing it to explode via thermal shock.
The Tarkatan Xenomorph is a strain of Xenomorph born from a Tarkatan host. Although, by genetic identification, this strain is identified as "Tarkatan", this type is only one of three variations of this specific strain.
This Xenomorph strain appears to be a bit more bulky and muscular than their wiry, lanky Human-spawned siblings.
It is black, like them, but has a shorter head and a more impressive set of teeth, like its host. The Xenomorph also has arm blades, a trait taken from its host, though its blades are segmented and hooked at the ends.
The primary difference between the three variations of the Tarkatan strain is the head. The primary variation's head is similar to the ridged head of the Warrior.
The Acid variation is smooth-lined like the Drone caste, while the Konjurer variation's head bears a close resemblance to the larger crest of a Praetorian.
The Tarkatan Xenomorph appears to be able to adhere itself to surfaces like most of its species. Its most obvious and striking feature is its arm blades, which bear a resemblance to some Yautja weaponry.
The Acidic variation of this strain is able to spew blood out from its body, while the Konjurer variation has the ability to summon Drones and facehugger "traps" on the battlefield.
Numerous types of Xenomorphs have been recorded which aren't the product of gene transference from a host.
As a widespread species with fast reproduction, the emergence of a number of subspecies and mutations is to be expected; although some of them haven't evolved naturally, but were intentionally engineered by scientists.
The Xenomorphs have a caste system similar to that of bees and ants. A major difference is that their caste system is far more complex.
It's believed that the Drones in this instance used to indicate a "worker" caste, instead of mating-capable males have the smooth cowl while the Warriors display the ridges.
The Drones and Warriors have different tasks: Warriors defend the hive, and Drones hunt potential hosts, while some live only to protect the Queen, such as Hive-Warriors or Praetorians.
The basis of any Xenomorph hive; the Drones are very much like worker bees or ants. Their main tasks are to keep the hive in good condition.
Also, they seem to have the job of creating their nests with their own secretions. They have the basic body build of the Warrior, except that their dome is completely smooth, whereas the Warrior's dome is typically more ridged.
Drones are smaller and somewhat more delicate than the Warriors, not considered quite as dangerous by Yautja standards, but striking fear into the heart of any Human.
Like all of their brethren, they have acidic body fluids, but only the Drone can spit this secretion onto prey over a short distance.
Drones have an organ in their bodies that releases a sticky fluid that they can spit out of their mouth onto any surface. It can be used to harvest cocooned hosts for the Queen's facehuggers.
Warrior Xenomorphs - commonly known as simply Warriors - are the soldiers and protectors of the hive.
They are all children of the hive's Queen, bigger and stronger than the Drones. The Drones are less deadly and somewhat less intimidating.
In most cases, the Warrior looks the same as a Drone, except that the dome on top of the head is generally ridged. They may evolve into Praetorians, which may serve as the Queen's personal guard and potential successors.
Typically, there are four of them at any given time. However, when the Queen wishes to watch them battle for her attention or increase protection in preparation for an attack on the hive, she will release pheromones which cause four additional Warriors to evolve into Praetorians.
Praetorians "Royal Guards" , are bigger and stronger than the Warriors and are seen to have a developing crown. Their primary role within the hive is to guard key locations of importance or interest, and, if nothing else, to protect the Queen herself.
Most Praetorians can be found very close to the Queen's chambers. The physical features of the Praetorian are pristine and very similar to the Queen's: it has a crown-like head crest, large size, and great strength.
The Praetorian is said to be created by special eggs and facehuggers known as a royal facehugger these are generally larger and a darker color than normal facehuggers , which carries a genetic code known as the Royal Jelly Line, which is passed from the Queen herself to the facehugger and embryo.
However, there are cases in which the Praetorians evolve from the Warrior caste. The Queen selects a Warrior to become a Praetorian, and the Warrior is then attacked by fellow Xenomorphs from the same hive and banished.
The Warrior must survive on its own for a long period of time. It returns to the hive as a worthy guard to the Queen.
Besides their guard duties, Praetorians may also act as the "princesses", or immature Queens of the hive, who can be promoted to Queens.
The Xenomorph Queen can lay specialized eggs that are bigger like Queen egg cells in bees which are bigger than Drone cells , that upon hatching can carry on the species through making other hives after the new female cocoons into a Queen.
Some varying reports of Praetorians with massive shield-like growths on their forearms have been seen.
She lays many eggs that hatch to become the first stage of Xenomorph. It is unclear whether the Queen engages in combat outside of protecting her hive.
The Queen is usually nestled deep within the hive, protected by Praetorian guards. She has been known to display some logic-based intelligence, primarily in using simple Human technology such as lifts.
She is the most dangerous of the hive, displaying extreme aggression and using her intelligence to devastating effect.
When attached to her egg sac ovipositor , she is immobile and vulnerable to attack. When she removes herself from it, however, she can move surprisingly fast.
She attacks with her four clawed arms, as well as her long, bladed tail. She has also been shown to use her main and inner jaws in combat.
Interestingly enough, it seems that the size of Queens varies. In one occasion, the Queen was shown to be maybe only twice the size of a Drone this also may be due to her being so relatively young.
In others, she is shown to be considerably larger - three or four times the size of a Drone.
This could be explained in a similar fashion to an older Drone's ridged head, as the Queen in question was very old: although kept in a dormant state for long periods of time, she could have been alive for several millennia.
Alternatively, she could have been an Empress. As stated, Queens are created through royal facehuggers which produce Praetorians, or immature Queens.
When a Queen dies or abandons a hive, a Praetorian may fully develop into a new Queen and take her mother's place. Whereas normal embryos adopt characteristics from their host, the royal facehugger's does not.
The sharp tip was initially a small, scorpion-like barb,  but from Aliens onwards the blade design increased in size and changed in appearance to more closely resemble a slashing weapon.
This was introduced to help them swim convincingly,  and was left intact in the subsequent crossovers. The original shooting script for Aliens and the novelization both featured a scene in which Lieutenant Gorman is "stung" by the barb tail and rendered unconscious; in the final cut of the movie, Gorman is knocked out by falling crates.
As a weapon, the strength of the tail is very effective, having been shown to be strong enough to impale and lift a Predator with seemingly little effort.
They have elongated, cylindrical skulls , but possess no visible eyes. In the novelization of Alien , the character Ash speculates that the Xenomorphs "see" by way of electrical impulse, similar to a shark's lateral line.
This method is illustrated in the original Alien vs Predator PC game and reused for the "Predalien" 28 years later. The Alien's inner set of jaws are powerful enough to smash through bone and metal.
In the novelization of the movie Alien , the creature is held mesmerized by a spinning green light for several minutes.
In Aliens , the adult creatures have a more textured head rather than a smooth carapace. In the commentary for Aliens , it was speculated that this was part of the maturation of the creatures, as they had been alive far longer than the original Alien, although James Cameron stated that he simply left the carapace off because he liked them better that way.
This design would be kept in Alien versus Predator ,  and abandoned in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem in favor of the ribbed design.
Throughout their appearances, human-spawned Aliens have been shown to have different numbers of fingers.
In Alien , the creature has webbed , six-fingered hands. In Aliens , the number of fingers is reduced to three two "paired" and a single, opposable thumb , and they are shown to be much longer and more skeletal.
In Alien: Resurrection , the number of digits is increased to four, with two long middle fingers and a pair of thumbs.
This design is kept in the Alien vs. Predator films, though the hands were made bulkier in order to make the Aliens seem more formidable against the Predators.
Aliens have been alternatively portrayed as both plantigrade and digitigrade organisms, usually relative to their host. Human-spawned Aliens were usually portrayed as having humanoid hind limbs, while in Alien 3 , the featured Alien sported double-jointed legs due to its quadrupedal host.
This characteristic would be continued in Alien: Resurrection for the human-spawned Aliens. Tom Woodruff, who had previously played the "dog-alien" in Alien 3 , described the human-spawned Aliens in Resurrection as feeling more like a dog than the previous creature, despite having been born from human hosts.
Alien blood is an extremely potent acid and is capable of corroding almost any substance on contact with alarming speed. It is dull yellow in color, and appears to be pressurized inside the body so that it spurts out with great force when the creature is wounded.
Ron Cobb suggested the idea of the Alien having acid blood as a plausible means to make the creature "unkillable"; if one were to use traditional firearms or explosives to attack it, its blood would eat through the hull of the ship.
Predator: Requiem documentary: "Science of the Alien", it is hypothesized that the Aliens' acid blood could be some type of " hydrosulphuric acid " compound due to its corrosiveness and the conspicuously toxic effects on living human tissue.
The documentary also speculates that Aliens are immune to their own acidic and toxic liquids due to an endobiological build-up, similar to the human stomach's ability to protect itself from its own digestive fluids.
The documentary takes this hypothesis one step further and speculates that the Alien organism's protection system against its own toxic hydrosulphuric acid is a bio-organically produced Teflon insulation.
This ability is also exhibited by adult Aliens in Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection ; much like a spitting cobra , they use it to blind and immobilize their victims.
Aliens can produce a thick, strong resin that they use to build their hives and to cocoon their victims, and they can use the walls of their hives as camouflage.
During various events in Aliens on the LV colony Hadley's Hope, in Alien: Resurrection on the USM Auriga , in the crossover movie Alien vs Predator , and in Alien 3 when they are trying to trap the Alien in the lead works the species displayed observational learning and problem-solving skills,   and in the former two cases the Aliens learned how to operate machinery at a very basic level.
On LV, they were able to cut power in a section of the complex to gain access to the humans, and the Alien queen learns to board an elevator by observing Ripley and Newt escaping in the one beside it.
The novelization of the film includes a scene where Bishop speculates that the queen establishing her "nest" at the base's main power plant could have been chosen either for the feral, animal reason of the warmth that it would provide or for the rational reason of selecting a location where any attackers would be unable to destroy her without destroying the entire facility.
In the director's commentary for Aliens , James Cameron noted that the creatures in Aliens had been alive for far longer than the Alien in the original, and had more time to learn about their environment.
Predator , they use a similar strategy to free the queen from her chains. An Alien also uses acid spurting from its severed tail as an improvised weapon by flicking it, indicating they are fully aware of the effects of their acid blood.
Finally, in Alien 3, the inmates and Ripley try to lure the Alien into the lead works. It becomes increasingly apparent that the Alien realizes it is a trap.
At one point, it hesitates to enter the lead works and at other points, it stops all prey just before going into the lead works. All of this indicates it recognized danger and sought to avoid it.
Aliens are eusocial life-forms with a caste system ruled over by a queen. In the Alien 3 novelization, Ripley commented that this parasitoid would probably be able to use any host from as small as a cat , to as large as an Asian Elephant.
The facehugger then "impregnates" the host with an embryo , known as a " chestburster ", [NB 2] which, after a period of gestation , erupts violently from the host's chest, resulting in the death of the host.
The chestburster then matures to an adult phase, shedding its skin and replacing its cells with polarized silicon.
This is also shown in the two live-action crossover films, Alien vs. The adult phase of the Alien is known by various different names.
The adult Aliens have been referred to as "drones", "warriors", "workers", and sometimes "soldiers", similar to the way ants have been defined.
The names of the adult phase have also been used to name different types of adult phases of the Alien in numerous sources, including video games, comic books, novels, and the films, but only in the commentaries by the team who created the films.
No official name has been given to the adult stage of the Alien in the films themselves. Queen Aliens are significantly larger and stronger than the normal adults, being approximately 4.
The queen's head is larger than those of other adult Aliens and is protected by a large, flat crest, like a crown, which varies from queen to queen.
Unlike other aliens, the queen's external mouth is separately segmented from the rest of her head, allowing her to turn her mouth left and right almost to the point where it is facing perpendicular to the direction of the rest of her head.
In the second film, Aliens , unlike other adults and queens, the queen had high-heel protrusions from her feet. Egg-laying Alien queens possess an immense ovipositor attached to their lower torso, similar to a queen termite's.
Unlike insect queens , there appears to be no need for an Alien queen's eggs to be fertilized. In the original cut of Alien , the Alien possessed a complete lifecycle, with the still-living bodies of its victims converted into eggs.
However, the scene showing the crew converted into eggs was cut for reasons of pacing, leaving the ultimate origin of the eggs obscure. This allowed Aliens director James Cameron to introduce a concept he had initially conceived for a spec script called Mother ,  a massive mother Alien queen which laid eggs and formed the basis for the Aliens' life cycle.
Cameron conceived the queen as a monstrous analogue to Ripley's own maternal role in the film. The queen was designed by Cameron in collaboration with special effects artist Stan Winston , based upon an initial painting Cameron had done at the start of the project.
The Winston Studio created a test foamcore queen before constructing the full hydraulic puppet which was used for most of the scenes involving the large Alien.
Two people were inside working the twin sets of arms, and puppeteers off-screen worked its jaws and head. Although at the end of the film, the queen was presented full-body fighting the power-loader, the audience never sees the legs of the queen, save those of the small-scale puppet that appears only briefly.
In Aliens , Cameron used very selective camera-angles on the queen, using the ' less is more ' style of photography.
Subsequently, the movie won an Oscar for Visual Effects. An adult queen was to reappear in Alien Resurrection. The original mechanical head previously used in Aliens was provided by Bob Burns and was an altered design.
It was repainted with a blend of green and brown, giving it a shimmering, insect-like quality. This color concept would be abandoned in Alien vs.
Predator in favour of the original black color scheme. In the climax of Alien vs. Predator , the queen's basic design was altered to make her more "streamlined" in appearance and her overall size was increased to six meters 20 feet tall.
Other changes include the removal of the "high-heel" protrusions on her legs, including additional spines on her head and making her waist thinner because there was no need for puppeteers inside her chest.
The animatronic queen had 47 points of hydraulic motion. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem introduced a younger form of the full-grown queen, albeit with traits inherited from its Predator host.
Recalling the facehugger's method of embryo implantation, the Predalien uses its inner mouth to directly deposit multiple chestburster embryos into pregnant female hosts, also using its mandibles to latch on the faces of said hosts, completely bypassing the need for facehuggers.
The eggs laid by the queen are ellipsoidal, leathery objects between one-half and one meter two and three feet high with a four-lobed opening at the top.
The eggs can remain in a stasis mode for years, possibly indefinitely, until nearby movement is detected.
As a potential host approaches, the egg's lobes unfold like flower petals, and the parasitic facehugger extracts itself from the egg and attaches itself to the potential host.
Giger initially designed the eggs with a much more obvious vaginal appearance, complete with an "inner and outer vulva".
In the first film, the quick shot of the facehugger erupting from the egg was done with sheep's intestine. In the Director's Cut of Alien , an additional scene shows still living crew members being cocooned into new eggs, either morphing into a new embryo or acting as a food source for the facehugger inside the egg.
A facehugger is the second stage in the Alien's life cycle. It has eight long, finger-like legs, which allow it to crawl rapidly, and a long tail adapted for making great leaps.
These particular appendages give it an appearance somewhat comparable to chelicerate arthropods such as arachnids and horseshoe crabs.
The facehugger is a parasitoid ; its only purpose is to make contact with the host's mouth for the implantation process by gripping its legs around the victim's head and wrapping its tail around the host's neck.
Upon making contact, the facehugger administers a cynose-based paralytic in order to render it unconscious and immobile.
The host is kept alive, and the creature breathes for the host. In addition, its grip on the host's head is strong enough to tear the host's face off if it is forcibly removed.
Once the Alien embryo is implanted, the facehugger will remain attached until the implant is secure, which can take anywhere from less than a minute to 16 hours.
Once this happens, the parasite detaches, crawls away, and dies. Predator: Requiem , it is theorized that facehuggers may implant a viral agent that "commands" the host's cells to grow the chestburster , as opposed to an implanted embryo.
Giger's original design for the facehugger was a much larger creature with eyes and a spring-loaded tail. Later, in response to comments from the filmmakers, Giger reduced the creature's size substantially.
Scott and Giger realized that the facehugger should burn through the helmet's faceplate with its acid blood; subsequent redesigns of the space helmet included a far larger faceplate to allow for this.
Their potent acid blood further complicates any attempt at removal. Facehuggers are primarily beige in color, giving them a skin-like appearance.
Situated on either side of the creature's body at the base of the tail are a pair of bag-like bladder structures that are used to circulate air into the victims lungs during implantation.
Underneath the Facehugger is a small orifice, from which the creature will extend a proboscis into the host's throat for implantation; this proboscis is around 50 to 60 centimeters in length.
Prior to detecting a host, Facehuggers are actually inert and lifeless within their Ovomorph. When the Egg detects a host nearby, it will transfer all of the remaining bio-electric potential of its acidic blood to the Facehugger, and it is only then that the creature becomes "alive".
Once outside of the Egg, Facehuggers use a similar set of thermoauditory senses as the adult Xenomorph to track and close in on their prey.
However, they are more than capable of pursuing a fleeing host, an act they will carry out with relentless persistence; Facehuggers will chase down their prey with little consideration for their own safety or survival.
They are adept climbers and jumpers, using these abilities to quickly overwhelm their victims before they can react.
Although Facehuggers can survive outside of their Egg without implanting for a period of time — up to hours has been recorded  — this is not thought to be common.
Facehuggers are not deterred in the least by their host's death should it happen despite their determination in getting to them in the first place, they will simply detach from the body and will chase the nearest living suitable host.
However, the window for this chance depends on whether or not the parasite had already "implanted" it's host given that most Facehuggers will eventually die afterwards, the creature will be rendered useless.
Being submerged does not appear to affect their ability to operate, as Facehuggers on LV were stored in an alkaloid nahcolite preservative fluid  for an extended period of time and were still able to function normally when released.
When a Facehugger initially senses a nearby host, it will attempt to attach to and subdue them.
Once in range, the Facehugger will leap towards the host's face, often with alarming force and accuracy, and immediately wrap its tail around their neck and its digits around their skull.
Once securely in place, the Facehugger rapidly renders the host unconscious using a cyanose-based paralytic chemical,  administered simply through skin contact.
The delivery mechanism is dimethyl sulfoxide DMSO ,  a compound used for exactly this kind of transdermal drug delivery in human medicine.
Studies done on Facehugger victims at Hadley's Hope revealed that one of the sedatives administered is a neuromuscular toxin, and once this has been metabolized, the victim wakes up.
The use of paralytic chemical compounds for sedation would imply that the Facehugger or perhaps the Egg it resides within is somehow able to determine a potential host's body mass and composition, so as to ascertain a correct dose of toxin; if the dose was either too low or too high, the host may not be affected at all, or could suffer toxic shock and die.
This is achieved using an immunosuppressive substance similar to azathioprine. While the primary method of subduing the host is chemical, Facehuggers can also use their tail, wrapped around the victim's throat, to induce asphyxiation.
For example, should a potential host attempt to interfere with or block the Facehugger attaching to the head in some way, thereby preventing the typical chemical sedatives from being administered, the creature will simply use its tail to choke the victim until they are either too weak to resist or they lose consciousness altogether.
The strength of the Facehugger's tail has been described as being comparable to a boa constrictor; even Chimpanzees, with their markedly superior strength relative to humans, are unable to pry it loose.
It also seems that not all victims of Facehuggers are rendered unconscious; on Bouvet Island , the mercenary Mark Verheiden remained conscious for at least part of the implantation process, as evidenced by his attempts to shout for help rendered futile by the proboscis down his throat.
It has been theorized that hosts cocooned in a Hive may not be rendered unconscious simply out of redundancy, owing to their inability to move or fight back.
This may explain why many cocooned victims are aware that they have been impregnated and request to be killed, whereas others attacked in the open have no memory of their ordeal.
Whilst subdued, victims have been known to experience vivid and distressing dreams, often concerning smothering of the face. Such dreams may not be universal to all victims, although many of the Facehugger victims during the initial stages of the Hadley's Hope infestation were noted to have woken up screaming, suggesting that there is a majority that do.
Given the size of a Facehugger, humans, Predators or other humanoid-sized victims are the most compatible hosts.
It has been suggested that a Facehugger would likely not be able to use a host any smaller than a cat.
It is possible that a Facehugger does not need to entirely envelop a host's head to implant a Xenomorph, but merely needs to subdue it and insert its proboscis through the host's mouth.
As the Xenomorph species has occasionally been likened to ants, one theory is that Facehuggers may attack larger hosts in swarms, akin to warrior ants, or with assistance from other adult Xenomorphs.
Presumably several creatures would subdue the host while another implants the Chestburster. There have been recorded cases of adult Xenomorphs pinning victims to the ground so that a Facehugger may then attach to them without fear of retaliation.
Once a Facehugger is securely attached to a host, it inserts its proboscis down the victim's throat. This proboscis both supplies the host with suitable atmosphere for breathing and also implants the beginnings of a Xenomorph embryo in their esophagus, a process that takes several hours.
It was originally theorised that the proboscis was also used to administer the sedative to subdue its host, however, further studies seemed to conclude that simple skin contact between the host and the underside of the parasite was the primary method.
Notably, the Facehugger does not in fact implant an embryonic Xenomorph in the true sense of the word; no fetus is introduced into the body.
Instead, the Facehugger deposits a mutegenic substance known as Plagiarus praepotens  into the host's oesophagus. This mutagen brings about a restructuring of the host's cells, essentially causing the host's body to assemble the Chestburster at a cellular level from its own biological material.
Implantation takes only a few hours, although the Facehugger may remain attached to the host for some time afterwards to ensure the Chestburster is secure; this can be from as little as twenty minutes up to sixteen hours.
During implantation, Facehuggers are not only able to determine a suitable atmosphere mix for the host to breathe, they are also capable of providing this mixture even in an otherwise unsuitable environment; Thomas Kane was exposed to the hostile atmosphere of LV when the Facehugger that attacked him breached his suit's faceplate, yet the Facehugger kept him alive until the crew could return him to the Nostromo.
It is unknown if the creature is capable of performing this action in locations that lack an extant atmosphere, such as space, although there has been at least one notable incident whereby James Likowski — pilot of the cargo vessel Junket — was kept alive by a Facehugger despite a loss of atmosphere aboard his ship.
While there are no external signs of what is happening to the host during the implantation process, in some cases the host has been known to develop a fever and even sweat profusely.
Paralyzed hosts have also been known to display muscle twitches or spasms while unconscious. While Facehuggers have been removed before embryo implantation has taken place, the process is ostensibly fatal for the host.
Additionally, their outer skin is known to harden shortly after emerging from the Egg, becoming a chitinous layer similar to the mesoskeleton of the later, adult stages of the creature's life cycle , affording the Facehugger increased resistance to physical trauma.
For example, if a Facehugger senses it is likely to be detached by external forces, it will invariably kill the host rather than allow them to survive.