This article refers to the infant life cycle stage of the Metroid. A Metroid hatchling also appears as a character in the games.
The Infant Metroid is the first stage of a Metroid's life cycle. Upon hatching from its egg laid by a Queen Metroid, the infant's body consists of a transparent, green membrane that surrounds three red nuclei. At first sight, Infant Metroids appear to be harmless with their tiny fangs and do not seek to devour their prey initially; instead, in the presence of another organism, the infant will harmlessly circle around it, seemingly observing it with curiosity. Eventually, the Metroid strikes without warning and devours its prey. After an undetermined amount of time, they grow into their next (and most common) stage: the Larval Metroid. In this second stage of its life, the Metroid is impervious to nearly all forms of weaponry; one of the few ways one can be killed is by freezing the membrane and then shattering it with concussive weaponry. Infant Metroids, on the other hand, can die from a single shot fired from any cold-based weapon, shattering it on contact.
On her first mission involving Metroids, Samus Aran was sent to destroy the Space Pirate base on Zebes and several stolen Metroid larvae, along with those created through exposure to beta radiation; no infants were encountered.
On a later mission to SR388, the Metroid's natural habitat, Samus destroyed all Metroids there, except for one newly hatched infant: this was the first natural Infant Metroid Samus had ever encountered in her missions; in the past, she had only encountered mutated strains of it, known as Infant Tallon Metroids and Miniroids. The hatchling, renamed Baby, considered Samus as its mother and never attempted to attack nor drain her on SR388.
When the Baby was brought to Zebes by Ridley, unknown factors caused it to mutate into a giant Larval Metroid. Interesting to note is that the mutated Metroid could produce exactly the same cries as an Infant.
In Metroid: Other M, when Samus tries to access Sector Zero, she encounters a single Infant Metroid. At first Samus hesitates to attack it because it reminded her of the Baby. As she decides to destroy it she is attacked from behind by Adam Malkovich, who proceeds to destroy the Infant Metroid just as it is about to attack the vulnerable Samus.
In Metroid Fusion, Samus was infected with the X-Parasite, nearly killing her. The infection had made her possibility of survival nearly impossible (1%). Metroids were discovered to be the X's natural predators and the Infant Metroid from SR388 had its DNA fused with Samus', saving her life again and making her invulnerable to future X-Parasite infection. Near the end of the Metroid Fusion, Samus discovers the Restricted Laboratory in the Biologic Space Laboratories research station. This laboratory was designed to produce and grow Metroids. Infant Metroids occupied the majority of the lab and were the only active specimens, as the other, more developed Metroids were seemingly kept in suspended animation. A small group of Infants were able to overwhelm the SA-X that had followed Samus to the laboratory however, the Laboratory detached itself from the BSL and exploded, killing the Metroids including the Infants. It was later discovered that one Infant escaped the Laboratory before it detached and molted through all of its stages, becoming an Omega Metroid.
- Issue 37 of Nintendo Power refers to this stage of the life cycle as a Bantee Metroid, in an early walkthrough of Metroid II: Return of Samus. The description says: "Once you've taken care of the Queen, a new Bantee Metroid will hatch. This one will help you complete your mission."
- When brought to another planet and/or when exposed to different stimuli (such as Phazon), Infant Metroids either become highly aggressive and resistant or entirely harmless and weak, as was the case with Infant Tallon Metroids and Miniroids, respectively. Also, the mentioned factors render the mutated infants incapable of latching onto any organism and subsequently cannot drain life energy. In the case of the infant Tallon IV strain, it will instead ram itself constantly against prey in an attempt to subdue it.
- As Samus enters Phase 9 in Metroid II: Return of Samus, her Metroid Detector on the bottom right of the screen spontaneously climbs from one to nine Metroids left to hunt. After killing the eight larval Metroids and the Queen, which drops the counter to zero, Samus witnesses the infant Metroid hatch before her eyes, yet the number of Metroids remains unchanged. It would seem the Metroid Detector does not take into account Metroid Hatchlings (for unknown reasons) until these grow to the mature Larval Metroids more commonly seen in other games.
- The infant stage of a Metroid's life cycle can seemingly be skipped over, as seen during the battle against the Queen Metroid in Metroid: Other M. At the start of the battle, several mature Larval Metroids are instantly spawned from the back of the Queen. They "hatch" from her, making openings on her spinal plating as fluid bursts out. She can still nonetheless lay eggs (seen before the battle) that house infants. This suggests that the Queen creates Metroids in two different manners (one involves giving birth to live Metroids (similar to mammals), the other through the "normal" egg-laying method).
- Alternatively, after the infants hatch from their eggs the Queen incubates them in the sacs on her back, similar to a joey in a mother kangaroo's pouch, or baby Surinam toads. The mature larval metroids that "hatch" from her back would then have been the same one's that hatched from the eggs seen in the room where the Queen was found.
|Natural Life Cycle|| |
|Zebes Metroids|| |
|Tallon IV Metroids|
|Aether Metroids|| |
|Phazon Metroids|| |
|Cocoons and Eggs|| |
|Artificial Metroids|| |
|Metroid Hybrids|| |
|Specific Metroids|| |
|Metroid Technologies|| |