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 Biological information



"Hellbugs are the unexpected evolution of a small predatory crustacean species from the planet Irath. They live in large collectives, usually within underground caverns in the terraformed frontier."
- Intel:Hellbugs

A Hellbug, species designation Scylla Formida, is a large hive insect species.


Life cycle


Egg purse

Hellbugs are the evolution of a Crustacean species from Irath. Hellbugs are highly aggressive and territorial, can move at shocking speeds and excrete toxic materials. Their hides are capable of repelling most small arms, but have exposed gland-like structures on their bodies. They exist mostly underground and are capable of rapid excavation, even through the hardest bedrock. ("Intel:Hellbugs") A bacterium exists in their excrement which can cause mutations in plant life. ("Side Mission:Taming the Wilds, Part 3") Certain conditions allow people to exist around hellbugs. ("Side Mission:The Lonely Scientist") They are attracted to vibrations. ("Side Mission:Making Waves") Hellbugs cannot hear but have excellent olfactory abilities which allow them to tell friend from foe. ("The Devil In The Dark") Hellbugs can adapt to take on certain physiological attributes such as producing electricity or radiation in their attacks. ("Pursuit:Thinning the Herd") The claws of Hellbugs are somewhat edible. [1]


Hellbug Matron

They are highly susceptible to artificial pheromones, similar to their natural attack pheromones, which will make them significantly more aggressive. ("Main Mission:Enter the Lawkeeper", "The Devil In The Dark") Certain forms of radiation, such as from ark debris, can alter the physiology of hellbugs, allowing them to take on amphibious qualities. ("Side Mission:Waist Deep") A Hellbug repellent exists that drives them away. ("Side Mission:Fumigation")


They ingest Gulanite ore as a digestive aid, which they excrete in a form of unrefined Petrohol. ("World of 2046: Aliens", "Loading screen") They have a gizzard that aids in digesting and processing gulanite. ("Contract:Certified Organic") They have Votoformic acid in their saliva that allows them to eat through anything. They are known to eat bone marrow from their prey. Their excretions are quite odorous and overpower most other smells. ("The Devil In The Dark")


Hellbug Hellion

Their life cycle is varied. ("Intel:Hellbugs") Mating season, or Svushinnira in l'Irathi meaning "rain of pollution", for Hellbugs causes them to behave very erratically. During this time they produce a number of substances which are off putting for many other species. ("Contract:Svushinnira: Thinning the Herd", "Contract:Svushinnira: For Science!") Egg purses are laid in nest, produced in clusters inside coccoons. ("The Devil In The Dark") Hellbugs can form a nest in less than two weeks. ("Side Mission:Skittering About") They line their nests with the flesh of their prey. ("The Devil In The Dark") Matrons will produce a royal jelly in their nests. ("Main Mission:Gunslinger Trials: A Royal Welcome") A Skitterling can coccoon itself and emerge later as a Warrior, Archer, Monarch or even a Matron. ("Intel:Hellbugs")


Hellbug Skitterling
Project Piper


Hellbugs were created after Arkfall and the terraforming on Earth, becoming fairly well known after only six months. ("Adjusting to Life on New Earth") Witin a year since terraforming, the Earth Military Coalition began Project Piper on Angel Island, hoping to find a way to control Hellbugs living there using sound waves. The project produced some results but was deemed a eventually failure. ("Data Recorder:Reactivation of Project Piper") In Sausalito, a large hellbug colony developed which allowed the area to begin extracting petrohol. ("Pursuit:Sausalito Exploration II") Peter Nardone, who had worked on Project Piper, moved to Angel Island and formed a relationship with the Hellbugs there, using his old work to control the hellbugs there to some degree. Nardone and one of the Hellbug Matrons on the island were killed, ending the hive that was living there. ("Island of Lost Soldiers") Raiders working with Dark Matter used artificial pheromones to cause hellbugs to attack Parraba Farm and Happy Pow Farms as part of a distraction to draw Lawkeeper Jon Cooper away from Iron Demon Ranch. ("Main Mission:Enter the Lawkeeper", "Main Mission:Hell of a Day")

Hellbugs attack

The Irathient Rynn used pheromones to attract a nest into an abandoned mine under Defiance and them used them to attack and kill people who had murdered her parents. The nest was destroyed and Rynn was stopped. ("The Devil In The Dark") In 2046 an Earth Republic Army contingent was sent to Angel Island to reactivate Project Piper but encountered similar problems with controlling the hellbugs. ("Data Recorder:Reactivation of Project Piper", "Data Recorder:Angel Island Induction") The E-Rep unit searched for Rynn to use her methods but she joined forces with an ark hunter and Dr. Eren Niden to destroy Project Piper. ("Episode Mission:Paying the Piper") Mutantss in the Bay Area exposed Hellbugs to the Votacide 4X virus in an attempt to spread it to Votans. ("Main Mission:Gunslinger Trials: Pulse Pounding Action") Someone in Defiance made a plush Hellbug toy. ("The Broken Bough") In 2048, Hellbugs in the Bay Area began going through a mutation, becoming stronger and much more resistant to traditional weapons. ("Expedition:Hellbug Hunt", "Contract:Selective Breeding", "Pursuit:Live and Let Die") The Neo Votanis Front spliced Dog DNA with Shrill. They also spliced dog DNA with Human DNA and added it to Hellbug DNA. ("Main Mission:Operation Siren Song")



  • A Limited Edition Hellbug Figurine was included as a bonus for pre-ordering the Collector's Physical Edition and the Ultimate Physical Edition of Defiance.
  • In the Trion Worlds game Rift, there are rifts called 'Invasive Species' where you battle Hellbugs. You can even obtain a Hellbug mount to ride on. [2]
  • In the Trion Worlds game Trove, players can battle with Hellbug invaders to collect Skittering Heart Boxes for a chance to unlock the Pink Hellbug mount. Players in the Defiance game could take down 50 Hellbug Monarchs in 'Colony Courtship' arkfalls to unlock the Red Hellbug mount in Trove. [3]