Preeds are cybernetic hunters used by the Space Pirates. They have Nohadin gas inside them (which is far more deadly in Dark Aether's atmosphere); upon being destroyed, the gas is released in an attempt to kill the Preed's destroyer.
Similarity to the Puffer family (specifically the Plated Puffer) found on both Aether and the Pirate Homeworld suggests that the Preed was created as a fusion of Puffer DNA and Space Pirate technology; this also seems to be the case with the Puffer Mines. The Bulls found on Zebes also bear striking resemblance to the Preeds.
Ing-possessed Dark Preeds are used for aerial hunting missions and are seen throughout Dark Agon and Dark Torvus Bog. Exposure to the Ing's Dark Energy makes the Nohadin Gas within the Preed even more potent and increases their durability, although a charged shot or missile will make short work of them.
"Morphology: Preed. Toxic gas-filled cybernetic bioform. Engage target at range if possible. Destruction of outer body will release a highly toxic cloud. The cybernetic Preeds are aggressive hunters used as patrol animals by the Space Pirates. They carry lethal Nohadin gas for use as a defense mechanism. If a Preed is ruptured, the gas within is violently released. This often proves fatal to the Preed's killer."