"Some sort of funky alien bug attached itself to his neck. He's completely immobile."
Aiden Ford[src]

The Iratus bug is a species of insect native to the Pegasus galaxy.


These creatures are small black carapaced creatures that share the Wraith's method of sustenance of draining the life from other living beings. They accomplish this by jumping onto the neck of a creature where they latch on and wrap themselves around the body then they begin to drain it of life. Physical attempts at removing the bug simply make it tighten its hold over its prey. (SGA: "Thirty-Eight Minutes")

They prefer dark and damp conditions where they form their nests. In such conditions, they typically gather in large numbers with several large egg sacs suspended in the ceiling of a cave. The creatures react violently to the presence of other life forms and treat them as threats. However, they are not aggressive to creatures that contain Iratus bug DNA. (SGA: "Conversion")

The Iratus bug has breathing organs that are sensitive to salt water. (SGA: "Thirty-Eight Minutes")

An ailing Wraith can be restored to health by being fed on by an Iratus bug queen. However, because this process is almost always fatal to the Wraith, it was largely abandoned after the Wraith evolved better regenerative abilities. (SGA: "Infection")

The Iratus bugs may live on at least three worlds: the Wraith homeworld where they first evolved into a Wraith, a planet where they have a large nest, and a planet three days' hyperspace journey from Atlantis that Todd went to be cured of a cancer like disease. However, this world may have been the same as the previous world, but it is never said for sure. (SGA: "The Gift", "Conversion", "Infection")


It was believed that the Iratus bug was the ancestor of the Wraith species who developed after the Lanteans came into the Pegasus galaxy and began seeding it with Human life. These planets contained the Iratus bug which began to feed on the humans on their worlds and thus began to incorporate their DNA into their own. In time, this resulted in the birth of the Wraith species who grew to more humanoid proportions. The Ancients did some minor studies on the creature and left their findings in the Atlantis database. (SGA: "The Gift", "Instinct", "Conversion", "Spoils of War")

Ford trying to kill the Iratus bug with his pistol.

The Atlantis expedition first came into contact with these creatures when the First Atlantis Reconnaissance Team were fleeing from an attack by the Wraith. As Major John Sheppard was attempting to escape a Wraith warrior, he suddenly came under attack from an Iratus bug which latched onto his neck. The Wraith warrior then abandoned him rather than kill him as he believed his fate to have been sealed by the bug. However, when taken back to the Puddle Jumper, his fellow expedition members managed to get the creature off him by stopping his heart with a Defibrillator. (SGA: "Thirty-Eight Minutes")

After a study on the creatures, Dr. Carson Beckett developed the Iratus bug retrovirus in an attempt at finding a cure for the Wraith's tendency on feeding on human life by suppressing the Iratus bug DNA in the Wraith. However, the experiment failed when Ellia attempted to use it on herself and instead enhanced the Iratus bug DNA. (SGA: "Instinct")

An Iratus bug nest with eggs suspended on the ceiling.

The next encounter with the Iratus bug came when Sheppard got infected by the mutated DNA of Ellia. This resulted in a slow but steady transformation turning him into an Iratus-like creature. In an attempt to save him, the Atlantis expedition attempted to get some Iratus bug eggs in order to use them to reverse the process. However, while attempting to enter their nest, the creatures became violent and attacked the team. This nearly stopped any cure for Sheppard who was almost condemned to his new fate. But, Beckett believed that Sheppard's new Iratus bug qualities would mean he could enter the lair without provoking the creatures, which he did, allowing him to retrieve the eggs to reverse the process. (SGA: "Conversion")

An Iratus bug let loose from its cage.

The Human-Wraith Hybrid Michael Kenmore made use of the Iratus bug as part of his experiments in developing a new servant species to protect him from his enemies. He used the bugs to feast on the life of the Taranian people on their new homeworld. After gorging itself on the new food, Michael manipulated the creature in order to alter the resultant egg as well as manipulate the growing offspring. Through this means, he created the Bug People who served as a perfect animal to do his bidding. One Iratus bug was let loose on Teyla Emmagan and almost fed on her but Ronon Dex managed to save her. (SGA: "Vengeance")

When Todd was infected with a cancer-like disease as a result of a successful attempt to get rid of his need to feed on humans, he decided that the best way to cure himself was to use the old method of having an Iratus bug queen feed on him although he knew it would be very dangerous, possibly even deadly. He knew of a planet with the species three days hyperspace journey from Atlantis in his Hive ship, but Sheppard refused to let him go there. Ultimately, Sheppard made a deal with Todd: help them land the front part of the severed Hive ship and he'd take Todd to the planet. After Todd did so, Sheppard kept up his end of the deal, sending Todd to the planet through the Stargate. There, Todd was fed upon by an Iratus bug queen and was cured of his disease, as well as turning him back into a normal Wraith again. (SGA: "Infection", "Enemy at the Gate")

Through the Wraith genetic memory she obtains through her status as a Wraithkin, Teyla Emmagan learns that the Ancients created the Wraith from humans they experimented upon, claiming to be attempting to find a way to immunize themselves from the Iratus bug. However, after hearing the story, Doctor Rodney McKay theorizes that the Ancients lied to the first Wraith and were really attempting to find a way to make themselves immortal if they couldn't ascend. (SGA: "Secrets")

Behind the scenes

  • "Iratus" means "angry" in Latin.

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