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Species are divided into species phenotypes, parent species and sub-species. A species may or may not equate with an empire. At first every empire will be made up entirely of its primary species but eventually it may include other species through conquest or migration. Xenophile empires particularly favor this idea while xenophobe empires hate it.

A parent species is the first spawned species of its kind (defined by its species portrait and name). A sub-species is created when a population modification template is applied to a parent species or another sub-species and is considered to be the same species for the purposes of xenophobia, xenophilia and species rights.

Species of the same phenotype will be less affected by xenophobia and xenophilia, with the effect increasing if they share the same portrait.

Different species will use different voices and manners of speaking when contacted via the Contacts menu.

Creating a primary species[]

There are seven different species phenotypes available in the base game, and three more can be acquired through DLCs.

The player creates their primary species during the Empire-creation phase, where they can either select and edit an Empire from the list provided, or create a new Empire. They can choose their species' Appearance, Species Name, Name Lists, and Traits (and on Console, the Ruler's name and appearance can also be adjusted on the Species tab; on PC, this can be found under the Empire heading).


Players can choose from the following list of phenotypes:

Species Description PC Console
Humanoid human-like
Machine (Synthetic Dawn Story Pack DLC) machine
Mammalian mammal-like
Reptilian reptile-like
Avian bird-like
Arthropoid insect-like
Molluscoid invertebrates
Fungoid fungus-like
Plantoid (Plantoids Species Pack DLC) plant-like
Lithoid (Lithoids Species Pack DLC) rock-like

The player will also choose a portrait (for the primary species, this is purely cosmetic).

Note: The order of the portraits is meant to reflect their in-game order.


The humanoids are the only phenotype that uses different models and voices for each gender. Also, each humanoid portrait has its own diplomacy voice.

Released in the Humanoid Species Pack

The Human portrait was originally part of the Mammalian phenotype prior to the introduction of the Humanoid phenotype in the Heinlein patch.


With the Synthetic Dawn Story Pack, players can choose the Machine phenotype as their primary species.

Robots can be constructed (by any species) once the species has acquired the required technology. Achieving sentience requires the Utopia DLC which added the Synthetic Evolution Ascension Path.

Each portrait has its own diplomacy voice. When an empire first creates robots through technology, they'll use the portrait that matches their primary species' phenotype.

  1. The Common robot was first introduced in 1.0 as a non-playable robot race.




  1. Available to those who log into their Paradox account while in-game. This species is inspired by Chirpy.
  2. Initially exclusive to Stellaris pre-orders; now availble in the Anniversary Portraits DLC.






Species Name[]

The player can either create their own species name, or choose Random.

Name Lists[]

For Leaders, Planets, Ships), and Traits.


Each species has traits and ethics that can be selected. Traits and ethics are independent of the species or portrait selected.


The first ruler of every empire can be customized. For non-humanoid species customization is limited to colors and possibly clothes, while some humanoid species feature hairstyle customization too. Humanoids are the only phenotype to feature differences in gender appearance.