"Drones aren't brave; their just incapable of feeling fear."

-Bungie's description of the Yanme'e

The Yanme'e (Latin Turpis Rex, translated to "Home King") are insectoid creatures that travel in swarms; however, in Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST they seem to fly in much smaller groups. They are referred to as "Drones" or "Buggers" by Humans and are a race of sentient, flight-capable insectoids who make up part of the alien religious hegemony known as the Covenant. Their mastery of antigravity-assisted flight has given them an almost insurmountable stratgetic advantage in combat.


(Turpis Rex)



Average Height:

5'10" (177.8cm) 6'9" (205.8cm)


170 pounds (77kg) 279.9 pounds (127.0kg)

Skin color:

Varies with castes


Insectoid, morphology, beetle-like wings and exoskeleton. Vestigial third pair of limbs on small abdomen. Flight-capable; strong enough to carry away a fully grown human male off the ground


The Covenant Empire, Covenant Loyalists, Yanme'e Hives, United Galactic Alliance

Notable Individuals:

Hopalong, PITA

Other nomenclature:

Drone, Roach, Bug, Buggers


The Ark and ReseedingEdit

The Yanme'e are a race of hive-driven insectoids that follow a queen. They are not "sentient" in the way of a proper government system, military or civilian mean nothing to Yanme'e. They reside on the hive-covered world of Palamok, and are extremely hostile to outsiders.

The Librarian indexed them and then were replaced back on Palamok after the Halo Array's activation, leaving the Yanme'e to continue their insectoid existence.

The Covenant and HumanityEdit

The Yanme'e were encountered by the Covenant on Palamok in the year 1112 CE. The Yanme'e were hostile at first, but almost immediately became assimiliated into the Covenant willingly, serving as a air support for the Covenant military only if hives were made on High Charity. Once the alliance had been forged, the Yanme'e became willing tools for the Covenant to use.

In 2525, when the Covenant encountered Humanity, the Yanme'e quickly became infamous, known as the dreaded insects that come in gigantic swarms to overwhelm UNSC troops. They can easily lift a fully grown man, and can engage in air combat using their wings.

The Great SchismEdit

When the Great Schism occured and the Covenant broke apart, the Yanme'e stayed loyal to the Prophets, and sided with the Loyalists. This was extremely costly for the Separatists, as the Yanme'e were the one thing that Mgalekgolo had no chance against. It was hulk vs. nimble air movement, Yanme'e had the advantage.

The Yanme'e continued to willingly follow the Loyalists and their Jiralhanae vanguard right up to the Battle of Installation 00 and 04B, where the loyalists were utterly defeated and the Covenant was finally broken up.Owing noone allegiance, the Yanme'e returned to Palamok.

The Dark Era and BeyondEdit

The Yanme'e continued to remain completely isolated from the wars that took place during the Dark Era. Even so, many joined the Remnants and even helped invade their own homeworld when the time came. Due to this, those still not assiocated with the Remnants joined the UGA and helped them defeat the Remnants.

The Yanme'e continue to reside on Palamok and many other worlds thanks to the UGA, and are now a crucial part of the standard operating of the UGA Government and Military.


Anatomy and PhysiologyEdit

The Yanme'e are not true insects, as they do not share a common ancestry with Terran life, but they share many similarities with earthly beetles and colonial insects. The Yanme'e have hard exoskeletons made from a glossy chitinous substance, as well as two pairs of veined wings.

Unlike Earth insects, which have three body sections, the segments of the Yanme'e body are broken into five: a head, a cephalothorax, a thorax, a pelvis and an abdomen. The head supports a pair of feathery sensory antennae and a pair of compound eyes. The mouth consists of sets of mandibles like those found on insects. Their hands sport opposable thumbs and dextrous fingers The first pair of legs are attached to a pelvis like structure, while the second pair is attached to the abdomen. The last set of limbs allow the Yanme'e to latch onto ceilings and hang down vertically during sleep.

The exoskeletons of the Yanme'e are brightly colored, with different hues representing different ranks or stages of maturity. Adolescent, or pupal, Yanme'e are luminescent yellow and orange, workers are a green hue, soldiers are pale blue, and Yanme'e majors are dark red.

There seem to be a number of different varieties or ranks of Yanme'e, including copper, green, blue, silver, red, and gold. Drones have also shown variation in other characteristics than color, including differences in mandible, limb, and antennae structure. Whether these traits are indicative of different tasks or functions, or simply a result of genetic variation, is unknown. When the Drones sleep, they do so hanging upside down from the ceiling, similar to bats.

The weight of the Yanme'e's exoskeleton prevents them from flying in gravity without the use of antigravity technology. This is presumably the purpose of the mechanical nodes that are integrated into the Yanme'e's carapace.

Social Behaviour and Caste SystemEdit

As mentioned before, the Yanme'e are a eusocial species. They live in colonies built around a single reproductive queen, several reproductive wingless males, and many workers and soldiers.

Unmutuals/Incapable of socializationEdit

These are Drones that are unable to work in concert with the rest of the hive, and, in fact, have been known to go on the rampage and destroy nests, smash eggs, and murder their own species. They are generally imprisoned to prevent them from communicating with the rest of the populace and, on at least one known occasion, have been sent to mine helium-3 on planets captured by the Covenant. The Yanme'e in these penal colonies are often guarded and worked to death by Kig-yar. On one occasion a Kig-yar actually removed the legs of a drone who was named by Spartan Team Black as Hopalong hence his missing legs. He helped the Spartans get into the camp and later released all the other drones.

Workers and SoldiersEdit

As with many species of ants, there may not be a true division in the worker and soldier caste, but the two may simply be different sizes of worker. Most insect workers are biologically female, but incapable of reproduction. Within the worker/soldier caste, there appear to be many ranks. Minors are the most common form and have a very low (as low or lower than the grunts') position in Covenant society. Majors could represent a separate soldier caste: they have larger wings, fly faster, are more skilled in combat and often carry Needlers.

Wingless MalesEdit

These are drones in the true sense of the word. They are the reproductive male caste of the hive, like drone bees. The term "drone" is often incorrectly used for the worker caste of many eusocial species. Little is known about their appearance other than that they are wingless. To prevent inbreeding, the drones might have to come from an unrelated hive. It's likely that they have wings earlier in their lives so they can travel, but they are later lost or removed after mating with the queen. This behavior can be seen in ants and termites. Like the males of eusocial insects, they might possibly lack any natural weaponry and have enlarged eyes. The males most likely exist for the sole purpose of fertilizing the queen, as well as caring for her and move her from place to place. The lack of wings may also render them "mute" as it seems the Yanme'e use their wings to communicate.


The queen is the central figure of the hive. Her primary role, as with ants, bees, and termites, is to propagate the species. Being a sentient species, the queen likely serves as an absolute matriarchal leader, making her a queen in the literal sense as well. The queen has been described as being large with the distended, egg producing abdomen seen in queen termites. This extra bulk would likely limit the queen's mobility. This is further reinforced by a Queen present for the ascensions of the High Prophets of Truth, Mercy, and Regret being carried on a litter supported by at least six wingless male drones. It is unlikely that a single queen could support an entire species so there are probably multiple, though possibly subordinate, queens.

Rank StructureEdit

Yanme'e UnmutualEdit

The unmutals are the lowest Yanme'e rank. Once given this rank, the Yanme'e that has it cannot rank up. This rank is given to "retarded" and "sociopathic" Yanme'e, who are unnatural, cannot give birth and socialize with other Yanme'e. They are usually ones rejected by the Queen or sometimes just slaves.

Yanme'e MinorEdit

Minors are technically the lowest, as Unmutuals aren't really a rank, but a status. They are identified via their green/yellow exoskeleton, and are always slower than Majors. They appear to be very low on the Covenant hierarchy, as they can be commanded by Kig-Yar Minors. They are the only type of Yanme'e encountered in Halo 2, and are lead by Majors in Halo 3, and in Halo 3: ODST, but Leaders.

Yanme'e MajorEdit

Yanme'e Majors are the ones who command Minors and are recognized by their crimson/red exoskeleton. They are faster than Minors, and do not come in swarms like Minors. They can still be deadly in groups, but are mostly only alone or accompanied by a Minor swarm.

Yanme'e UltraEdit

Yanme'e Ultras are the commanders of Minors and Majors and are recognized by their blue/cyan exoskeleton and the large fork-like horn on it's head. They are first encountered in Halo 3: ODST, but are more widely seen in Halo Reach. They are way faster than Majors, but mostly wield Plasma pistols.

Yanme'e LeaderEdit

The Yanme'e are the main Yanme'e commanding force on the battlefield. They are recognized by their golden exoskeleton and use of energy shields. They are usually encountered alone, are noticably bigger than usual Yanme'e, and slightly slower than a Ultra.

Yanme'e QueenEdit

Queens are the highest of Yanme'e ranks, and far bigger than standard Yanme'e, about the size of a Hunter. They act as the natural leaders of the Yanme'e and are recognized by their multicolored exoskeleton.


Reproduction and life cycleEdit

Almost nothing is known about the Yanme'e life cycle beyond the fact that the queen lays eggs. It's possible that the Yanme'e go through a complete metamorphosis including an egg, larva, pupae and adult stage, as it is known that the Yanme'e life cycle does include some form of pupal stage, as in Halo 3: ODST when pupal Drones are encountered. They are weaker than other varieties of Drone, and are notable for their bioluminescent carapace, which glows bright green and orange.


Yanme'e are a eusocial species, and therefore their intelligence is geared toward working in concert with large groups. They can accomplish tasks swiftly and efficiently when working together, and their knowledge of machinery is rivaled only by the Huragok. However, they lack individuality because of their hive lifestyle, and their instincts and societal conditioning suppress creative thought and encourage total obedience to authority. No examples of Drone names have yet been discovered, which could be another sign of their lack of individuality. They do not appear to experience higher emotions; It is suspected that they are able to feel jealousy, as seen when they killed Engineer Lighter Than Some when he unintentionally usurped their role as technician on board the Rapid Conversion. The Halo 3 Campaign Scoring description of Drone Majors states that Drones are incapable of feeling fear. In Halo: Evolutions, Unmutual Yanme'e are seen to be capable of independent thought and strategic planning.


Yanme'e are deployed in battle situations, such as aerial insertions, often alongside other Covenant forces. They have been seen to be used for surprise aerial ambushes and assaults, such as catching infantrymen off guard and causing them to shoot upwards as a diversion so that their allies may attack on the ground. This is a common Covenant tactic that can be used to wipe out a whole squad of Marines. They can also be seen lifting their enemies off the ground to impressive heights despite their frail appearance.[14] This likely shows that the strength of the Yanme'e in general is underestimated and that they can lift greater than their own body mass in flight for a short time.


Yanme'e generally build their hives into cavern ceilings deep underground, and they are able to build a fully functional hive within a single day. A defining characteristic of Yanme'e hives is that they radiate heat to their surroundings from vent-like openings, elevating the temperature over a large area.


The Yanme'e homeworld is Palamok, a planet similar to Earth, but twice the size and about twice the gravity (2.2G). Palamok was also described by a UGA ambassador to be absolutely revolting to look at, as the planet is essentially one, gigantic "bee" hive. However, he followed to say that the planet has a 4 oceans and a working ecosystem that could support billions of human colonists.

The atmosphere is similiar to Earth, except with traces of methane gases and carbon dioxide. However the levels of this contamination is extremely low, making it possible for a human to walk freely without wearing a pressure suit or enviro suit.


  • Palamok in Filipino means, increasing of mosquitoes which may have relevance to the Yanme'e's body structure and behavior.
  • During concept stages for Halo 3, a Yanme'e was planned to have an animation where it carried off a Marine. This was cut from the final game but one does pick up a Marine for a short time at the beginning of the first swarm attack in Crow's Nest.
  • The multiplayer map Guardian has visual similarity to the description of the Drone's home world Palamok, and the sounds of Yanme'e can be heard in the background.
  • The nickname "buggers" is likely a reference to the Formic race in the Orson Scott Card novel Ender's Game. Additionally, the Drones' native name, Yanme'e, could be based on the Japanese 蜻蜓 (yanma), meaning "large dragonfly".
  • They are the only Covenant unit that can be seen using a weapon with their left hand throughout all of Halo. Jackals are in question. In every single Halo game until Halo: Reach they are seen with their weapon in the left hand and the shield in the right hand. In Reach the shields are different, leaving a single hole for the jackals to fire out from when wielding a one-handed weapon. This hole is on the right side of the Jackal's body, confirming the switch from left-handed to right-handed Jackals.
  • In Halo: Reach, when Drones are killed with a headshot, they explode, leaving behind various body parts.
  • On the Game Stats for Halo: Reach, Yanme'e are referred to as "buggers" rather than their more common nickname, "drones".
  • In Halo: Reach, Drones are not encountered often like they were in the previous games. They appear in three missions of the campaign: in Tip of the Spear guarding the second AA gun, in New Alexandria guarding the third jammer, and in The Pillar of Autumn in a cave you must pass through.
  • The weight of Drones averages around 77 kilograms, a reference to Bungie's love of 7.
  • Unlike Halo 3: ODST, Drones cannot be encountered in Firefight in Halo: Reach.
  • In Halo: Reach there are three different types of Drones, and they all have different types of horns. The green Yanme'e, which do not have anything except two antennae, the red-shelled Drone, which has two horns that are facing backwards on his head, and the blue-shelled Drone, which has a big horn on its head pointing forward.
  • It is unknown how the intelligence of a Drone works. At first glance, one would say that they are merely a large insect. This is supported by the fact that they have no government, and instead live like bee colonies. However, they are intelligent in combat with their tactics and ability to use a weapon. Also, they are intelligent engineers capable of repairing and creating advanced Covenant technology far beyond human capabilities.


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