The Predator is an extra-terrestrial species, also known as Yautja, that is highly aggressive, invasive, and considered to be the apex predator, as the name suggests. The franchise is extremely successful, but fans noticed that the Predators in almost every movie look different. Well, that is because they are.
You see, as humans have races, and Earth has species, Yautja has types, and their planet, Yautja Prime, has different species that differ in nature, appearance, abilities, and even weaponry. So, without further ado, here’s the ultimate guide to every Predator type, explained in detail.
The Predators Planet & Hierarchy
The Predators, aka the Yautja, come from a planet known as Yautja Prime. Despite their advanced technology and intelligence, the Predators are still quite archaic when it comes to their way of life.
Their society is based on hierarchy, which is based on hunting success in experience. They are mostly divided into tribes, and each tribe has its own hierarchy. However, you can find Elder, Ancient, and King Predators (the rarest) that can rule over dozens of tribes at once.
Predators hunt for honor, and the more they accomplish during their hunts, the higher up the ladder they climb. The Yautja consider Xenomorphs (Ridley Scott’s Aliens) as the ultimate prey, with humans being their close second.
It is stated that the Predators actually created the humans in ancient times and made them breed the Xenomorphs, but that’s a topic for another day. For more on that, check out the new movie in the Predator lore called Prey, where the history of humans and the Yautja is explored more thoroughly.
Due to the hierarchic nature of their society, Predators are most often classified and differentiated based on their place within the hierarchy. I’ll cover all the “regular” types first, and then the alternative Predator types, sub-types, and off-shoots.
The Unblooded Predators are at the bottom of the hierarchy. This type of Yautja are usually the young, inexperienced Predators, still not trained for combat and having completed no hunts in their life. After they start their training, Unblooded Predators have a chance to climb up the ladder. However, many of them perish before their first official kill.
Young Blood Predator
Young Blood Predators are, well, young Yautja who are in the midst or have just completed their training and are on their way for their first hunt and kill. They usually wear lighter armor to stay nimble on their feet and focus on melee weaponry to make the hunt more challenging. Those weapons include retractable wrist blades, glaives, spears, smart discs, shurikens, etc.
If they succeed in their first hunt – which is almost always a hunt to kill a Xenomorph – they prove their worth and honor and become Blooded Predators.
Blooded Predator (aka Classic Predator)
After a Young Blood Predator completes its first kill, they usually get marked across their bio helmet, or even face, with the acid of the Xenomorph they’ve killed. When marked, they become honorable, Blooded Predators. They’re also known as the Classic Predator because it’s the most common Predator type – like the one you see in the first Predator movie.
The Yautja from the first movie is also known as the Jungle Hunter, and he displays some of the most common gear the Yautja have. Apart from melee weaponry, the Blooded Predator carries a bit more armor, along with a wrist gauntlet that has numerous functions, like a first aid kit, explosives, lasers, etc.
The wrist gauntlet is connected to a bio helmet, which also has numerous functions for the Predator, like numerous different vision options, the ability to blend into the environment, a breathing aid, etc. They need the breathing aid because the air on Yautja Prime contains much more nitrogen, and much less oxygen, making it hard to breathe on Earth for Predators.
Lost Tribe Predator (aka City Predator)
I’m not sure if one can call them a separate type because Lost Tribe Predators are quite similar to Classic Predators in terms of rank. However, they hunted in the city of Los Angeles instead of the jungle – hence, the name City Predators. We saw them in the second Predator movie in 1999, starring Danny Glover.
Lost Tribe Predators had a bit darker skin than the Jungle Hunter and used different weapons, like spearguns, multi-purpose discs, etc. Also, the Classic Predator was careful not to leave equipment and technology behind for humans to find, whereas the City Predators were a bit more bloodlust and a bit less careful, leaving equipment behind after leaving Earth in their ship.
After a Blooded Predator gains enough trophies, kills, and successful hunts – preferably on different planets, with different prey – they gain the honor of becoming an Elite Predator. They have to accomplish some major feats, like killing several Xenomorphs at once.
Then, they aren’t sent on regular hunts anymore but rather on special missions, such as clearing out Xenomorph infestations, training Young Blood Predators, retrieving lost Yautja technology, etc. If they do their job well enough, they can progress further.
Elite Predators can choose their equipment as they like, from long-range weaponry, and high-tech explosives to ordinary melee weapons, depending on what they like the most.
Clan Leader Predator
If an Elite Predator continues to successfully accomplish missions without dying, they get a chance to become a clan Leader Predator. Usually, it happens after an Elite Predator kills a Xenomorph Queen, but it’s not the only prerequisite.
If they do, they can send other Elite Predators on missions and give out orders to their clan members, including Unblooded, Young Blood, and Blooded Predators.
Elder Predators and Clan Leader Predators can be one and the same, depending on the size of the plan. However, elder Predators are considered to be superior. They rarely appeared on-screen, though. An Elder Predator is an Elite Predator with numerous accolades that isn’t an active hunter anymore.
Usually, they have centuries of experience behind them, making them more intelligent and a bit different in appearance. They are here not to hunt but to evaluate hunters (Blooded and Elite Predators) and push them up or down the ranks as they see fit.
If they see a human defeat a Predator, they have no problem giving them honor and accolades. We’ve seen that happening in Predator 2 after an Elder Predator gifted a flintlock pistol to a human as a trophy and a symbol of honor because they’ve successfully killed a Predator.
Ancient Predators are even older and more experienced than the Elder Predators. They can reach a thousand years of age and have retired from their Elder duties, so they are free to live as they see fit.
Ancients are extremely wise and knowledgeable and often help Young Bloods to reach their potential. Don’t let their age fool you, though. Ancient Predators are among the toughest, as seen in the Predator: Homeworld comic, where an Ancient kills several Blooded Predators single-handedly.
Although this completes the traditional hierarchy of the Yautja, there are numerous sub-types and alternative versions that are worthy of mentioning.
Alternative Predator Types
As the name suggests, this type is a hybrid of the Predator and an Alien – a Yautja/Xenomoprh hybrid. It appeared in the first Alien vs. Predator movie. The hybrid has features of both species, such as the humanoid stance and dreadlock mandibles of a Predator and the long tail and maws of a Xenomorph. It later appeared in a Mortal Kombat video game, too.
Super Predators are commonly ranked similarly to Blooded Predators. However, this Yautja sub-species is much larger, physically stronger, and has a more reptile-looking face, with glowing red-and-yellow eyes and horny scales over its head. Also, their mandibles are further behind on their head, making the Super Predator’s face longer.
They’re also much more aggressive and use a variety of weapons but mostly rely on melee attacks due to their incredible physical strength. However, in the 2010 Predators film, we see three Super Predators use traps, Predator Dogs, and even falcons to find, lure, and kill their victims.
Yup, the Yautja have dogs. They are also known as Hell-Hounds, and they are a Yautja Prime species used by Super PRedators as a K-9 unit. The hideous dog-looking creatures have an innate sense of smell and can hunt down prey from miles away.
Ultimate Predators, also known as Assassin Predators, were introduced in The Predator movie in 2018. They are probably the biggest Predator type we’ve seen in any movie, even larger than the Super Predators. That’s because they are genetically enhanced to become much stronger, more durable, quicker, and overall deadlier.
Due to their superior physique and skills, Assassin Predators don’t wear as much armor or equipment, and their skin is much darker – almost black. They use Predator dogs to help track down their “missions,” as they are sent to complete special tasks.
One Ultimate Predator was sent to find and kill a Fugitive Predator (more on that in a second) on Earth and did so like it was nothing. This is one of the most brutal, dangerous Yautja subtypes.
Bad Blood Predator
Bad Blood Predators are Blooded Predators who violate the Yautja rules and hierarchy and are then banished or hunted down to be killed by their former tribe. Bad Bloods are often crazy, aggressive, and go berserk, killing their clan members and operating under their own rules.
The Fugitive Predator is not a new sub-species, per se, but rather an Elite Predator that violated the rules and went rogue. Basically, it’s a supreme version of a Bad Blood Predator. We see one in The Predator movie. They wear different masks and armor and have spliced DNA.
Fugitive Predators are cunning and strong but not a match to Ultimate/Assassin Predators, as we see in the film when the Assassin kills the Fugitive with ease.
The Enforcer Predator is to an Assassin Predator what a Bad Blood Predator is to a Fugitive Predator. Basically, Enforcer Predators are the “regular police” of the Yautja, sent to capture or kill Bad Blood Predators, regardless of the crime they’ve committed.
However, one particular instance in the comics shows an Enforcer Predator hunting down a regular Bad Blood, only to be killed relatively easily. When the situation gets more serious, Assassin Predators are sent instead of Enforcers.
This is one of my favorite Predator types that appeared for the first time in the new movie in the franchise, Prey (2022). Ferals are a hundreds-of-years-old sub-species of the Yautja who, as their name suggests, live in the wild and use different skills to hunt their prey.
Instead of going with size, strength, and power, Feral Predators are slimmer, more agile, and quick on their feet. Their dreadlock mandibles are much thinner, and they focus almost exclusively on melee weaponry, such as swords, spears, and gauntlets.
Also, their armor is not metallic, as usually seen in other Predator sub-types, but rather more tribal, made out of bones, etc.
Infected Predators are the largest Predator species out there, mutated with the black goo substance created by the Engineers. The mutation makes them larger, bloodlust, and can even grow them extra limbs. The Infected Predators are practically mindless but extremely powerful, capable of taking out numerous Xenomorphs with nothing but melee and hand-to-hand combat.
Alpha Predator is considered to be the ancient leader of the first Yautya tribe ever. The legendary Alpha led a rebellion against the Amengi race, who were insectoid creatures that had enslaved the Yautja in the past. As an ultimate sign of victory, Alpha decorated himself with bones and a big mask, similar to what the Amengi wore.
Beyond the Elders and the Ancients lies a mysterious, obscure Yautja known as the Predator King. This particular sub-type appears very rarely but is known as a ruler of numerous clans at once, compared to Elders, who lead one clan at a time.
The most well-known Predator King was Kalatka, who was over a thousand years old and led the Yautja to victory against the Rage and their army of Xenomorphs. The battle was depicted in the Rage War trilogy.
This particular Yautja subspecies could be considered the lowest level of the Predator evolution chain. They are a less intelligent, less honorable version of the Predators that go into mindless frenzies, killing unarmed women and children if they see fit. They have kill glands that can be triggered by all kinds of stimuli.
Later, the Hish-Qu-Ten were described as an ancestor of the Yautja, not a sub-species, which explains their lack of intelligence and honor.
Don’t mix Exiled Predators with Fugitives. Exiled Predators were a particular group of Yautja banished to a small island in the Pacific for unknown reasons. They didn’t have the Predator technology or resources, so they made their own armors and weapons from what they had on the island – bones, wood, stone, etc.
There were seven members of the Exiled, but ultimately, only one of them survived a battle with Predator Hunters.
Yes – the Predators have females, too! When a Female Predator first appeared, she was actually bigger, stronger, and more brutal than her male counterparts, driven by a maternal instinct to protect their young. The first such Predator was Big Mama in the AvP: Deadliest of the Species comic series.
Later, the Female Predators were reimagined as more nimble, agile, and less muscular, with a more distinct female physique – but just as brutal as Big Mama nonetheless.
Emissary Predators are somewhat of a sub-type of Enforcer Predators. They first appeared in the alternate cut of The Predator movie in 2018 but were tossed out in the final cut. Apparently, they ought to appear as the friends of the Fugitive Predator that team up with him and humans to battle the Ultimate/Assassin Predator.
They were equipped with human weaponry, mostly the US army stuff. However, they never made an official appearance in the film. Instead, they were canonized in the Predator: Hunting Grounds game, where they used weaponry and armor similar to modern military equipment to scare and confuse their prey.
Yes – humans can become members of a Yautja clan, too. If the Elders deem a human worthy – usually after killing another Predator or a Xenomorph single-handedly – they can offer them a trophy and a spot among their ranks.
Other Predators usually frowned upon having humans in their ranks, but it had happened before, especially in the comics. They wear the Yautja gear and equipment and hunt together with the clan. The most well-known human Predator was Machiko Noguchi, a woman who lived and hunted with a Yautja clan for at least a year, if not even longer.
(Dis)Honorable Mention: Meta Predator
I had to include this particular sub-species on the list simply due to its absurdity. The Meta Predators appeared in one of the most ridiculous crossover comics between the Predator universe and the DC universe called JLA Vs. Predator.
So, an evil geneticist created mutated Predators, each having the powers and abilities of a particular Justice League member. You had a superman Predator, Flash Predator – heck, even a Batman Predator! They fought the real Justice League, but the ending of the comic was rather anti-climactic.