12 feet (370 cm)
10,500 pounds (4,800 kg)
A single entity created by a unified colony of small worm-like creatures called Lekgolo.
- "They're all scary and angry and they like to smash things..."
The Mgalekgolo (Ophis congregatio, meaning "serpent union"), is a gestalt of Lekgolo, which are small worm-like creatures that group together to exponentially increase their intelligence, strength, and maneuverability. Of the myriad Mgalekgolo forms, the best known is the Hunter, a bipedal form that is used for heavy assault; ironically, the Hunter form is among the least common Mgalekgolo type.
When the Mgalekgolo home world of Te was discovered by the Covenant, intent on mining its riches, they faced, instead, heavy resistance from what the Humans have come to know as "Hunters". The Mgalekgolos' physiology gave them a tremendous and unexpected advantage in ground combat, not only hampering, but even halting the Covenant's advance and succeeding in killing an Arbiter. The Covenant were further infuriated by the Lekgolo's destruction of Forerunner artifacts during the Mgalekgolo's routine feedings.
In ground combat campaigns the Mgalekgolo were mostly victorious, despite the valiant efforts of the Sangheili. The Covenant was forced to turn to orbital bombardment, a tactic to which the Mgalekgolo had very little to no defense. To save themselves from extinction, the Lekgolo's only choice was to submit and join the Covenant. This event later came to be known amongst the Covenant as the "Taming of the Hunters". Terms for their induction into the Covenant were eventually met, despite communication difficulties. In their agreement to join with the Covenant, the Lekgolo worms, which fed on specific minerals, were consigned to investigate the Forerunner Dreadnought that resided in High Charity and help uncover its inner workings. Their price for this trade was access to space-travel technologies and exploration of the Covenant space lanes.
When a single colony of Lekgolo becomes too big, the colony will divide in half to create two independent Lekgolo colonies. These colonies will share an extremely close and mysterious bond, referred to only as being "bond brothers", or "mates". The armor and Assault cannons used by the Mgalekgolo were given to them by the Sangheili after the former joined the Covenant. Mgalekgolo that have split into "bond brothers" are recognized by spiked appendages that rise from their shoulders, which means that they are bonded to another Mgalekgolo. Bonded Mgalekgolo colonies are dropped into battle together by the Covenant, as the Spartans learned: where you find a Mgalekgolo, there is always another close by. If one of the bonded colonies is killed, the other will go into a frenzied state, much like the berserk state of a Jiralhanae, or the suicidal charge of an Unggoy. If left alone for a long period of time, however, they will adopt a "tactical split personality" of shooting followed by melee attacks.
During the Battle of Onyx, some Mgalekgolo apparently had command of lower-ranking Sangheili, even killing one of them for failing to follow orders, signifying they may have a higher military rank in the Covenant military than previously indicated.
The most commonly seen variety of Mgalekgolo are hulking bipedal forms used for service within the Covenant military. In this form, they are the strongest and most resilient combatants in the Covenant . They usually stand between twelve to thirteen feet tall, but during combat they hunch themselves over to protect their vulnerable neck and midsection, reducing their height to roughly eight feet. Much larger bipedal Mgalekgolo assemblages that could easily be measured in stories have also been observed, but appear to be uncommon; the largest known Mgalekgolo forms reside within the armored shells of Covenant Scarab walkers.
Hunters fight using Assault Cannons integrated directly into their armor, and they carry an enormous shield made of an unknown alloy derived from the same material that forms Covenant warship hulls. This shield protects them from almost every form of plasma-based or ballistic weaponry available to Covenant and human infantry alike, and is a powerful melee tool capable of crushing anything in its path and allowing the Mgalekgolo to sweep away most enemies in close combat.
 Anatomy and physiology
- Main article: Lekgolo
A Mgalekgolo is not a single organism, but rather a collective of small, orange, eel-like creatures called Lekgolo. In order to form a Mgalekgolo, hundreds of individual Lekgolo bond with one another both physically and neurologically to form a single "hive-minded" community. Mgalekgolo are capable of manifesting in several different forms according to what goal they are striving to achieve and the amount of Lekgolo worms that are present. The Mgalekgolo is the most common form seen in combat during the Human-Covenant War, but is actually one of the more rare forms in the Lekgolo society. This Mgalekgolo is employed by the Covenant as heavy infantry. Their society is predominated by this combination of being able to create exponentially more intelligent creatures, and the actual "Hunter" organism is one of the rarer and smaller forms to be found, used primarily in interaction with the Covenant hierarchy.
Because of their make-up of several hundred worms instead of being a single large organism, the Lekgolo are one of the only species in the Covenant that cannot be assimilated by the Flood, as their unique physiology does not allow the organism to access a central nervous system or control them to any capacity. As such, there has never been a Hunter Flood combat form, though the flesh of the Lekgolo can most likely be used by the Flood simply for its biomass.
The collection of eels that make up a Hunter's body are unintelligent at the most basic level, but can form complex thoughts and emerge as a conscious individual when they combine into larger masses that communicate through chemical and electrical means. The neural net that Hunters develop enables them to be incredibly strong and very sensitive to all things within a 1,000 foot line pointing out from non-combat form, and a half sphere that extends 500 feet in combat form[verification needed]. This could explain why Hunters sometimes can locate the Master Chief even when they cannot see him, or when they are facing the opposite direction. This also explains why Hunters can think and work as an effective combat unit without even using verbal communication. Hunters generally growl during battle but will sometimes talk and make remarks like the other Covenant species. Instead of using vocal chords, like other Covenant species, they vibrate their bodies to make a low rumble that is described as "more felt than heard" to produce speech.
Little is known about the Hunters' language. The known names of some Hunters seem to imply that they use very simple vowels, and few consonants—not nearly as many as are contained in the English alphabet. It is known that Hunters do not use vocal chords to speak; instead, they seem to vibrate the Lekgolo in their bodies to produce sound. Their quiet nature amongst other races of the Covenant results either from difficulty speaking with other Covenant races or difficulty tolerating other Covenant races.
Hunters' speech can be heard in all of the Halo games, and has changed very little during the course of the series. Hunters tend to make very deep, low rumbling noises when detecting enemies or when wounded. When dying, they seem to emit a low-pitched scream. They also seem to chuckle after a kill. Aside from that, Hunters barely talk. They are, however, capable of mimicking the language of other species via subsonic vibrations, forming words and sentences that are "felt rather than heard".
Mgalekgolo almost never associate or even communicate with the other races in the Covenant Empire. Sangheili are the sole exception; Hunters appreciate and acknowledge the Elite warriors' thoughts and adeptness in combat. To the other races of the Covenant, however, the Hunters are dismissive, scornful, and arrogant, and they are utterly contemptuous of their foes. Hunters have no qualms about committing friendly fire against the "lesser" races, like Unggoy and Kig-yar; during the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV, a Hunter was seen running over and killing a Kig-yar. In Halo 3: ODST, Hunters will attack foes regardless of any allies that happen to be in their line of fire.
Many members of the Covenant are mystified and confused by the Mgalekgolo; their way of life is almost as alien to the Covenant as that of the Flood. A Sangheili Fleet Master once noted that Hunters were known to tear opponents apart with their "bare hands" whilst in a blood frenzy, and then suddenly pause to recite war poetry. It has also been said that Hunters meditate in their spare time, or before battle.
During the Great Schism, most Hunter pairs sided with the Sangheili and the Covenant Separatists, though others remained with the Prophet of Truth and the Covenant Loyalists. There is no known reason for the split in loyalty. It is likely that the Separatist Hunters split from the Covenant due to their respect for the Elites. It is likely that the Loyalist Hunters remained in the Covenant out of fear for their homeworld; the Hunters were integrated into the Covenant during the Taming of the Lekgolo, when the Covenant threatened to glass their homeworld.
No Hunters are ever seen supporting the Master Chief during the events of Halo 3. This is because in the making of Halo 3, Bungie did not want to confuse players by having them with both the Separatists and the Loyalists, so they were only shown as Loyalists.
Hunters have three names: a personal name, a bond name, and a line name. The personal name is given at their "birth". The line name represents the genetic heritage, being the name of the most successful Mgalekgolo of his ancestors. If one reaches a certain level of status, his offspring will have his personal name as their line name. The bond name, or their middle name, is taken between bonded pairs, colonies that must split into two due to excessive size. Examples of some Hunter names include Igido Nosa Hurru and Ogada Nosa Fasu. From the few Hunter names that have appeared in the novels, it seems that the given name has three syllables, but the bond name and line name only have two syllables. This may be another 7 reference, as 3 + 2 + 2 = 7.
However, it is not known why the line name is not three syllables, considering that the ancestor in question's given name would be three syllables. It is most likely not always three syllables or the name is edited (a syllable is possibly taken away) before the offspring is given the line name.
Mgalekgolo religious beliefs are poorly understood. While the Lekgolo joined the Covenant for its access to space trade routes and starships, rather than any real dedication to the Great Journey, at least some hold a concept of an "afterlife". Many Lekgolo meditate in their spare time, or recite war poetry before or after battle, showing a more refined nature than would be believed of the hulking, savage warriors. The fact that some allied themselves with the Sangheili during the Great Schism, while others remained with the Covenant Loyalists, is evidence that individual beliefs play a major part in Mgalekgolo religion. Anything further than this is speculation, as Lekgolo culture is extremely reclusive. Even their fellow Covenant know little about them other than that they continue to follow their own cultural traditions, rather than the homogenized religion of the wider Covenant.
 Ranking system
Unlike most Covenant forces, Hunters seem to possess no visible rank. As they are deployed more like equipment or weapons platforms rather than conventional troops, rank may simply not apply for them.
However, they can be deployed independently of other Covenant troops, which may indicate that a level of independence and responsibility may be granted, thus meaning that they may have a high enough rank to be trusted by themselves. In Halo: The Fall of Reach, Mgalekgolo are seen guarding the crystal in Côte d'Azur, which is retrieved by Blue Team. As they are guarding such a highly valued target, they may be of a higher rank than other Hunter pairs. Also they killed a Jackal by stepping on it, which may show that they are higher in rank than the Jackals, although it is more likely that the Hunters merely did not care about the other alien's life. 
In Halo 3: ODST, the Hunters appear in two different forms in two different colors: the normal blue-armored Hunter, which are basically the same as the ones seen in Halo 3, armed with an Assault Cannon that fires a continuous stream of radioactive incendiary gel and a gold-armored Hunter, armed with an assault cannon that fires a single bolt of radioactive incendiary gel which is similar to the weapon model featured in Halo: Combat Evolved. Whether there is any other significance to this difference is unknown. Ironically in Halo 3: ODST, the Hunters have been seen to not always attack in pairs.
|See our gameplay tips related to Mgalekgolo on its gameplay tips page|
- Halo: The Flood, mentions that Hunters have skin and a jutting spine. This is incorrect, as they were later revealed to be a compound of small worm-like creatures. However, this does not preclude the possibility that the worms may form a skin-like membrane on the outside of their colony for protection against more casual damage, and in Halo 3 a metal column can be seen after the back armor plating has been detached, perhaps forming an artificial "spine" for vertical support. Strangely, the reference to Hunters having spines was kept in the 2010 re-release of the novel.
- At first, Hunters were meant to comprise the whole of Heretic forces on the Threshold gas mine.
- The Hunter was inspired by the Pfhor Hunter from the Marathon series, as well as by the Drinniol, or Hulk, from the original Marathon. However, the Pfhor Hunter is actually a class of power armored soldier with a shoulder-mounted cannon rather than an arm-mounted cannon. The Drinniol also inspired the creation of the Drinol, Covenant species that was designed for Halo: Combat Evolved but was cut during development.
- Like most other races of the Covenant, Hunters' blood differs from that of humans. Mgalekgolo blood is bright, fluorescent orange and appears to have a very thick, slimy texture. It has also been noted that their blood smells strongly of burnt plastic, hinting that the make-up of their bodily fluids is drastically different from that of a human.
- When combating Hunters, a player can 'leapfrog' the charging melee attack, either jumping above or to the side of the Hunter. This exposes the rear armor to a quick shotgun blast or grenade stick, often resulting in death on lower difficulties. Although this tactic does not work as well on Halo 3: ODST, simply circling around behind the Hunter at the right time works the same way.
- In Halo 3, it is possible to splatter a Hunter with a Mongoose.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved Hunters are not harmed by Fuel Rod guns. This may be because you're not supposed to have Fuel Rod guns in Campaign, or it may be a precaution meant to prevent Hunters from injuring each other when fighting.
- Hunters have ranks in the actor variant tags. One variant is called 'Hunter' and another called 'Hunter major'.
- A single shot from a pistol or sniper rifle will kill a Hunter; this is likely because the Hunter's exposed flesh was considered to be its "head."
- In Halo 2, it is impossible to kill or even damage a Hunter with a melee attack.
- In Halo Wars, a Hunter's shield can deflect projectiles that would almost always kill them in previous games, like Wraith Mortars and shots from the Scorpion's main cannon.
- In Halo: Reach, Hunters have received a huge graphical overhaul. They are much more textured, are larger, have Forerunner symbols and emblems on their armor and appear to have some kind of eyes on their helmets.
- Hunters are also much tougher in Reach. They are capable of surviving explosive hits. Their back armor is much more durable, making their weak point harder to expose. They will also raise their shield vertically when being attacked from the front, covering both their neck and mid-section to protect themselves from incoming fire.
- In Halo: Reach, a near-miss from a Hunter's melee will cause the player's screen to shake violently.
- Although the Hunters present in Halo: Anniversary use the Halo: Reach skin, the Hunters are almost half the size of their Halo: Reach counterparts due to the much smaller skeleton frame used in the original game. Their abdomens also appear to be armored, though this armor doesn't do anything and they're just as vulnerable as they were in the original game.
- In Halo: Reach, meleeing a Hunter in the exposed rear abdomen with an Energy Sword will result in an instant kill, regardless of difficulty. Strangely, however, this does not occur when using the standard swipe or lunge of the energy sword.
Early concept art of a Hunter for Halo: Combat Evolved.
Finalized concept art of a Hunter for Halo 2.
Concept art of a Hunter for Halo Wars.
An in-game view of the blue-armored Hunter in Halo 3.
An in-game view of the gold-armored Hunter in Halo 3: ODST.
The Hunter as seen in the Halo: Reach Beta.
A Hunter on Corvette.
John-117 battling a Hunter in Halo 4.
A Hunter in Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.
 List of appearances
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (First appearance)
- Halo: The Flood
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo 2
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo 3
- Halo: Uprising
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo Wars
- Halo Legends
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo: Reach
- Halo 4
- Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
- ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia: page 141
- ^ a b c Bestiarum
- ^ HBO Forums: Bestiaium Latin names translated
- ^ a b Halo: Contact Harvest, "Chapter ??", page ??"
- ^ a b Halo: The Flood, "Chapter ??", page ??"
- ^ Halo 3 Instruction Manual
- ^ Halo: Combat Evolved
- ^ Halo 2
- ^ a b Halo 3
- ^ a b Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, pages 190-191
- ^ Bungie.net: Halo 3: ODST Field Guide
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, "Chapter ??", page ??
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, "Chapter ??", page ??
- ^ Bungie.net: The Covenant Primer
- ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 222
- ^ Halo: The Flood (2010), page 181
- ^ Halo 3 Essentials: Disk ??
- ^ The Halo Bulletin: 8.22.12
|Member and client races of the Covenant|
|San 'Shyuum • Sangheili • Jiralhanae • Huragok • Lekgolo (Mgalekgolo) • Yanme'e • Kig-Yar (Skirmisher) • Unggoy|