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List of sentient species

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This is a list of sapient species known to exist (or have existed) within the galaxy and beyond. The title is due to widespread confusion about the definition of "sentient", which is able to perceive or feel (almost all life is sentient, because it must be able to perceive in order to operate its metabolism, which is part of the definition of life), as opposed to "sapient", which literally means wise but figuratively is commonly used to mean "self-aware".

Note that the use of 'species' is much broader than the dictionary definition. In this article, the 'species' distinction includes lesser definitions, such as sub-species.

Eldar species

Human species

Main article: Abhuman

Unless otherwise noted, any species listed below may have the necessary additional mutation to be a psyker or blank. Likewise, any may be perpetual, although there are no known blank perpetuals.

The following are not species in any sort of traditional sense - in particular, none of them can breed but all are artificial.

  • Custodians are made by modifying humans - they do not "breed true".
  • Space Marines are made by modifying humans - they do not "breed true".
  • Thunder Warriors are made by modifying humans - they do not "breed true".
  • The Primarchs were made directly from human genetic material. They do not "breed true".

Necron "species"


Orkoid species

Orkoid species

Tau Empire species

Tyranid species

Tyranid species

These are too numerous to list, as the Hive Mind is always making new species and by its very nature tends to blur the lines for any possible definition of sapience. Listed below are Tyranid organisms known to behave in a "sapient" fashion even when the Hive Mind does not appear to be in contact with them.

Warp entities

Warp entities

Other species

Unnamed Species

Unnamed Xenos Sentient Species
Place of Encounter Time of Encounter Description of Xeno Species Forces of the Imperium Outcome of Encounter Source
Torben's World Unknown but before the Great Crusade or in time of it The Xenos species had developed primitive firearms Human colonists The colonists use of Rhinos led to the Xenos species destruction. This was the first documented military use of the Rhino. Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pg. 13
Tranquillity Great Crusade Each xenos of this race existed in the form of a many pronged star of transparent crystal, that moved by a strange process of expansion and contraction of its shape and mass. Unbelievably fast, each xenomorph was able to project an energy beam capable of cutting through ceramite, flesh and bone. The race possessed starships and emerged through the nearest Warp Gate. Emperor's Children The Emperor's Children first destroyed the Xenos army and then their fleet of starships. Then the Legion passed through the Xenos' Warp Gate and destroyed their Homeworld, later returning to Tranquillity in triumph. Ironically, the Warp Gate leading to the Xenos' System later became utterly inert, so if they had not launched their invasion, the Xenos could possibly have still existed somewhere in the Galaxy. The Horus Heresy Book One - Betrayal, pg. 116
Oura'Nuoama Great Crusade The Xenos had gossamer wings, with flute-like mouths and dwelled within palaces of frosted glass, on their highly toxic world. Their weaponry included guns, particle-beams, atmospheric ships and heavy armor. Death Guard, Blood Angels, Imperial Knights The Xenos species was destroyed by an Imperial strike force led by the Death Guard Primarch Mortarion. Afterwards their toxic world was terraformed by the Imperium, so that Humans could live upon it. Unification (Short Story)
Tyrama Secundus 964.M41 Underwater race that lived in cyclopean fane-cities beneath Tyrama's dark oceans. They began enslaving the world's Human population, dragging millions to a watery demise. Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Gruberman, Deathwatch and Subjugators Chapter. The Xenos species was destroyed during the Tyrama Secundus Campaign Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition, pg. 22
Unknown 932.M39 Endoparasitical Xenos that spawned within the skull of General Kazanlak and took control of him. It then commanded his Imperial Guard forces to start a rebellion against the Imperium. Task Force Naasirka of the Praetors of Orpheus Chapter Both Kazanlak and the Xenos parasite inside of him were killed, during the Jotun Repression. This has been the only specimen of this species found so far. Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition, pg. 19
Trailing Marches of the Eurydice Sector Unknown Strange flying creatures that lived in the nesting-crypts and attacked the Imperial frontier worlds. Iron Lords Though the Space Marines that went to destroy the miasmic nesting canals of the xenos cities never returned, flying adult forms repeatedly attacked the landing site of the Chapter and were destroyed by the Iron Lords' Hyperios missile launchers. After the battle, this species never disturbed the Imperium again leading scholars to believe that all of the Xenos' adult forms were killed and its young larva could not survive without their help. Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition, pg. 200
Precipice Unknown Xenos species unknown to the Imperium, who are rumored to have created the Space Station Precipice. However they disappeared long before the Station was found abandoned in M42. None None Blackstone Fortress: Ascension (Novel), Chapter 30

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