The Species that Inspired the Alien Movies

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Nature is truly amazing, especially the creatures we never get to see.

One particular species has had a lasting impression on sci-fi geeks around the world, probably without them even knowing it.  Prepare to feel nostalgic, and be creeped out.

It lives deep in the ocean where not even submarines and unmanned deep dive vehicles can go.  Past 1,000 feet below sea level, too deep for even the sun’s glowing reach.

Awe, it’s so tiny and helpless!

Phronima Amphipod. Photo via


The Phronima is a small, translucent deep sea hyperiid, closely related to amphipods (crustaceans).  To the common eye, it resembles a mini shrimp — with a similar head, eyes, jaws and clawed arms.  But the Phronima is truly alien in nature and instinct.

It may be nano in size,  but the Phronima has good sight and impressive claws. The 2.5 cm (0.98 in) predator can take down creatures double its size.

As you saw the Xenomorphs do to Ellen Ripley’s crew member (*shudders*), this real life alien hunts for prey in search of a creature it can use as its host.  When found, the Phromina violently implants itself and its offspring inside living host.

Whether it too erupts from the chest of their victim, remains unseen. I wish I had a bat signal for Grant Imahara, Kari Byron and Tory Belleci on this one.

As Jimmy Fallon would say, EW…

If you want to get into the nitty gritty of how close the two creatures really are, check out this post by  It’s detailed and awesome.

If you take the time to learn more about it, nature in every form will inevitably blow your mind.  I think nature defies our logic because it’s not using the same logic as we are. There’s something intriguing about that.

Stay curious! Why we should keep nature a part of our 21st Century lives:

  • Despite the environment or conditions, nature is inspiringly relentless
  • Nature is the originator of organized chaos
  • Science and sacred geometry are beautiful (like my magnetic hobby)
  • We have infinite opportunities to learn from nature
  • We still don’t know everything there is to know about Earth
  • Good ideas can come out of just about anything, especially nature

And there’s no bigger #firstworldproblem than running for your life because a crazy creature is trying to use you as a host.  Is that scarier than zombie apocalypse? I think it’s up there with it.


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2 thoughts on “The Species that Inspired the Alien Movies”

  1. First to comment! This thing is really creepy. I can see how they made a movie about it. Too bad the Alien movie people didn’t do more to tell the world about this little guy.

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