Starship Troopers Wiki
Starship Troopers Wiki

The Brain Bugs are a species of Arachnids that served as a vital command and control role within their armies.

Starship Troopers novel[]

The Brain Bug as shown in the 1976 board game Starship Troopers.

A Brain Bug is the leader of a Bug colony of the Pseudo-Arachnids. It is hinted at in the novel that the Brain Bug is telepathic and it is stated that the "brain" shares a symbiotic relationship with the Bug Colony and that if it dies, the colony dies. The "brains" are easily held by humans in their power suits.

Brain Bugs depend entirely upon their workers and warriors to survive, their own bodies possessing "barely functional legs, bloated bodies that were mainly nervous system."


During the Operation Royalty, Charles Zim captured a Brain Bug. After Operation Royalty, several Brain Bugs were captured, although none of them survived for long afterward. Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers film universe[]

The Brain Bug captured on Planet P as seen in Starship Troopers (1997 film)

Inicial quote.png Brain Bugs?! Frankly, I find the idea of a Bug that thinks offensive! Final quote.png

Starship Troopers (1997 film)

These variation of the Bug (scientific name Cerebus rex[citation needed]) strains are a leadership caste amongst the Arachnid forces that served as a vital role as a hive brain for their colonies. They were highly intelligent and commanded entire Bug colonies and directed their forces against enemy threats. In contrast to the Warrior Bug, the Brain Bug was physically almost completely defenseless, although they could emit a high pitched screaming noise capable of bursting blood vessels in human heads at a short distance. [1]They resemble large fleshy slug like creatures who were so fat that they were incapable of traveling completely by themselves and instead were carried by a swarm of Arkellian Sand Beetles/Chariot bugs. They had multiple eyes on their head, much like a spider, and a fleshy mouth.

They are known to be highly intelligent and are adept in a range of telepathic powers. These abilities allow the creature to control its colony as well as keep everything inside it working efficiently. The importance of this type of Bug amongst their hives meant that it is heavily defended with Warrior Bugs fighting to the last to protect it. In fact, if there is a direct danger to the Brain Bug, the Bug hordes will cease attacking until it manages to get away to safety.

One of the more dangerous abilities of the Brain Bug is its capacity to steal the knowledge out of the minds of other beings. It accomplished this through the use of a sharp proboscis that protruded from its vulva-shaped mouth. This highly specialized mouth is designed to break through the skull of a sentient being and penetrate into the brain itself. Once there, the Brain Bug begins to consume the prey's brain matter and absorbs all of their memories as well as their knowledge. The process of this also enabled Brain bugs to use the human body temporarily to call for reinforcements on radio equipment before being disposed of. This provided the Bugs with a great deal of intelligence on their enemies as they were capable of learning vital secrets from their foes. As such, any human captured was at times brought before the Brain Bug for this form of interrogation.[2]


Inicial quote.png You're some kind of big fat smart bug, aren't you? Final quote.png

—Johnny Rico threatening the Brain Bug with a nuke, Starship Troopers


The existence of this type of Bug remained largely unknown to the United Citizen Federation who believed that the Arachnids were simply disorganized wild animals with no level of coordination amongst their strategies. During the war against the Bugs and the disastrous battle of Klendathu that had cost Federation forces 308,563 wounded and 100,000 dead in one hour of the first battle, analysts within the Federation began to believe that the Arachnids were being commanded by a special breed of Arachnid that were intelligent — much to the disbelief of their comrades. This prompted directives being given to the Mobile Infantry to find and locate the so called Brain Bugs for study as a way of combating the Arachnid threat. Military Intelligence suspected that there was a Brain Bug on Planet P and their beliefs were proven after the loss of Whiskey Outpost where a Brain Bug placed a trap for Federation forces.

The Brain Bug after being imprisoned for 11 years

A large Mobile Infantry force was quickly assembled on Planet P; a Bug colony which was suspected to contain a Brain Bug. Under the command of Johnny Rico, the force combed the underground tunnels for the creature. Unknown to them, an Escape pod crashed into the region due to Plasma bug fire and leading Zander Barcalow and Carmen Ibanez into the Bug nest containing the Brain Bug. The creature killed Zander Barcalow by draining his brain matter in order to absorb his knowledge but before it could accomplish the same to Carmen Ibanez, the female Fleet officer cut the appendage with a knife. Wounded, the Brain Bug was then unexpectedly confronted by Lieutenant Johnny Rico and two of his subordinates who had a nuke active. The Brain Bug recognized the threat posed and quickly retreated from the tunnels allowing its Warrior Bugs to handle this enemy incursion once the Brain had fled far enough.

However, whilst it was escaping, it accidentally moved into a region where the bulk of the Mobile Infantry task force was located. There, it was captured by a former drill Sergeant called Sergeant Zim who along with fellow troopers managed to drag the beast from its underground warren. Psychic Military Intelligence officer Carl Jenkins later probed the creature and told the assembled Mobile Infantry forces that it was scared. The Brain Bug was later transferred to the Area 6 deep underground in the Alamo Bay Detention Center on Earth and studied as well as tested by Military Intelligence who sought to find a weakness to exploit amongst the Bug hordes. Starship Troopers (1997 film)

Over the eleven year period it was held, The Brain was studied by psychic Sky Marshal Omar Anoke, who became dramatically influenced by its telepathic abilities and converted to a religion that sought to find Behemecoatyl, the God Bug. Sky Marshal Anoke's traitorous actions were discovered by Adrimal Enolo Phid who showed the evidence to Anokes oblivious sidekick Major General Dix Hauser of a secret recording of one of Anoke's meetings with the Brain Bug. When Enolo Phid and Dix Hauser traveled to investigate the Brain Bug, it was decided to have the Brain put down for further study into its anatomy. Unknown to them, the Brain could understand their words and seeing its life threatened, the captured Brain Bug broke from its prison cell and screamed in an attempt to crush the skulls of the humans in its pitch. Several guards and Enolo Phid's sidekick was killed. Upon seeing the Admiral near death, Dix Hauser had managed to procure a weapon and terminated the beast with several rounds into its head killing it. Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles[]


This strain of Bug were created to serve as a leadership caste amongst the Arachnid armies. As such, they served as moving telepathic nodes that served as important generals for the Bugs where they coordinated all activity through a form of mind control. They served an extremely vital role and typically, a Bug colony consisted of only a single Brain Bug who directed its military forces against enemy incursions. The death of the creature has a dramatic effect on the Bugs as they can go mad from its death and turn on one another with their entire coordination falling apart. In terms of appearance, the Brain Bug is a large beast that is almost too fat to move by itself. Their telepathic talents are not restricted to command duties as the creature is equally capable of using it offensively by directing powerful psychic blasts that can harm groups of enemies. It should be noted that the Brain Bug is highly intelligent and vicious, capable of using tactics to combat a foe such as wounding a single enemy in order to distract their comrades.

A more deadly ability of the beast is a spiky sucker appendage that came out of its slit-like mouth. When this organ extended, the sharp pincer is capable of piercing the skull of an enemy where the Brain Bug extract their brain in order to add any of the gained knowledge to the hive mind collective. This allowed the Bug to learn any secrets that the enemy captive knew and use it to the advantage of the Arachnid forces. Such information can be used to learn troop movements or other vital data in order to plan traps as well as ambushes.


A Brain Bug and its guards.

The existence of the Brain Bugs were largely unknown to SICON forces during the war against the Bugs. Their first indirect sighting was during the Hydora Campaign where the Brain Bug on Hydora sent a telepathic message to psychic soldier Carl Jenkins where it told him to deliver a message to the rest of humanity - that message was that the Bugs would not stop until every human was killed thus highlighting that the conflict was a battle of the species.

This same Brain Bug was later responsible for killing off members of a Mobile Infantry squad where it sucked their brains out and absorbed their knowledge. Using this information, it plotted a trap for Jean Razak's Roughnecks and managed to capture them where the Brain Bug attempted to absorb the information in Johnny Rico's brain. Before it could accomplish this task, the Brain Bugs base was assault by the Mobile Infantry led by Carl Jenkins who had probed a wounded MI trooper of the incident. Threatened, the Brain Bug damaged trooper Rico's powersuit in order to kill him and unleashed a powerful telepathic attack against the Roughnecks. But, it was counterattack psychically by trooper Jenkins who destroyed it with his mental powers. Before it died, the Brain Bug told Jenkins that it was not an only child and that there were other Brain Bugs in space. The death of the creature allowed the Roughnecks and the Mobile Infantry squads to depart from the nest without worry of the other Bugs who had turned against each other after the loss of the telepathic control of the Brain Bug.[episode needed]

At some point after the domination of the native Skinnies population, a Brain Bug was put in place on the planet Tophet and used the Control Bugs as a way of maintaining control over the Skinnies. After the Skinnies captured Razaks Roughnecks during the Tophet Campaign, Sergeant Francis Brutto and trooper Carl Jenkins were brought before a separate isolated chamber where they the Brain Bug which sought to drain their cranium's of their knowledge. However, the two troopers managed to defeat the Skinnie guards and took their shock sticks which they turned against the Brain Bug which was killed by their electrical attacks.[episode needed]

It was suspected that a Brain Bug existed on the planet Tesca Nemerosa during the conflict on that world. The Roughnecks were tasked with eliminating the nest but the information proved to be false as they discovered that it contained a hive which was home to Nurser Bugs which were breeding mutated evolved strains of Arachnids.[episode needed]

Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy[]

Brain Bug STTA.jpg

Brain Bug first appears in Royalty II as a mission objective to be captured. It appears again in Desert Swarm and so on as "field command" of the Arachnids, enhancing combat performance of other bug species. Bugs will be more aggressive if a Brain Bug is presented, actively seek Mobile Infantries across the map, instead of passively patrol around bugholes. In later missions, there will be more than one Brain Bug on battlefield, even up to four or five.

Like the first movie adaption, Chariot bugs can be used as indicators of Brain Bugs.

Brain Bugs are almost immobile, but process uncanny psychic abilities. Apart of commanding minions, They can also panic MI units (especially those who don’t have power suits), inflict damage by mind blasts, even deflect missiles. They’re recommended to be eliminated ASAP, airstrikes are the most preferred approach, a MIST Trooper can also kill a Brain Bug with a single shot from sniper rifle.

Once killed, all bugs on the map will be temporally frozen, as their "command chain" needs time to be restored.


  • In the game Starship Troopers: Invasion "Mobile Infantry", after the members of the Roughnecks K-12 team cleared out the Bug Hive beneath Fort Casey, the Queen Bug was not present in her chambers as it was already captured by Carl Jenkins and the Marine Corps. As Henry Varro told his men that Brain Bugs likely killed the Queen when the fighting got close, this suggests that Brain Bugs might have been present prior to the Battle of Fort Casey. This is a reference to the original novel, as Brain Bugs are ordered to kill the Queen when they feel the hive is being threatened.