Telepathy, advanced healing abilities, need for human "lifeforce"
|Form of government||
None; sovereign hive ships govern their own crews and allies (present), unknown unified government (past)
None; some factions ally with one another or outsiders, but these alliances are constantly shifting
|Out of universe information|
- "The Wraith allow our kind to grow in numbers, and when that number reaches a certain point, they return to cull their human herd. Sometimes a few hundred years will pass before they awaken again. We've visited many, many worlds -- I know of none untouched by the Wraith."
- —Teyla Emmagan
The Wraith are a vampiric, hive-based species that harvest the 'life-force' of other humanoid beings for nourishment through suckers on their palms. Countless worlds in the Pegasus Galaxy live in constant fear of the Wraith, who return periodically to cull their human herds. Ten-thousand years ago, the Ancients (then known as "Lanteans") attempted to defeat the alien menace in a titanic war, but were eventually overrun by their foe's superior numbers and bloodthirsty resolve, forcing them to flee back to Earth with their civilization in tatters. As no other power was capable of opposing them without the assistance of the Ancients, the Wraith came to dominate the entire galaxy, and until the arrival of the Atlantis Expedition, it seemed that all hope of ending the horrific cycle of death was lost forever.
- "In time, a thousand worlds bore the fruit of life in this form. Then one day our people stepped foot upon a dark world where a terrible enemy slept."
The Lanteans first encountered the Wraith many thousands of years ago. After arriving in the lifeless Pegasus galaxy with Atlantis, the Ancients seeded several planets with humans and Stargates. One of the planets held a creature called the Iratus bug, which began feeding from the humans. Eventually, they began to take on advantageous human characteristics, such as larger brain mass, bipedal locomotion, and opposable digits. Once awoken, the Wraith went to war with the Lanteans and fed upon the humans of the Pegasus Galaxy. 
- "Never before had we encountered beings with powers that rivaled our own. In our overconfidence, we were unprepared and outnumbered."
- Main article: Lantean-Wraith War
The dominating (and at the time only) power of the Pegasus galaxy was the peaceful and technologically advanced Lanteans, the group of Ancients that had left the Milky Way millions of years ago to escape the plague destroying their race. They were far more advanced than the Wraith, with one Ancient warship being able incur massive damage on several hive-ships at once with their devastating drone weapons, while at the same time suffering little to no damage themselves due to their powerful shield technology.At first, the Wraith were at a major disadvantage against the advanced warships of the Lanteans who, in their overconfidence, began to send their warships deeper into Wraith territory. The Wraith, after a period of time and with great cost to themselves, managed to capture several of these vessels and obtain the ZPM's powering a number of the Lantean warships. Using these incredible power sources, the Wraith began creating a cloning facility which they used to increase their numbers against the Lanteans, giving them a much needed advantage and allowing them to permanently turn the tide of war in their favor. 
The Lanteans began to slowly fall back into their own territory, which the Wraith continued to absorb into their own; facing the powerful weapons platforms and outposts protecting Lantean-controlled territory in their effort to destroy their enemy. This continued for a hundred years until Atlantis was all that remained of the Lantean's empire. In a final act of achieving some measure of peace, the Lanteans sent a delegation to meet with the Wraith to negotiate a truce. The Lantean delegation was protected by their most powerful warships, but they were ambushed by the Wraith's massive fleet. After that great battle, it was only was only a matter of time. 
All that remained of the Lantean empire by this point was their capital of Atlantis, which the Wraith lay siege to for many years, held off only by the powerful shield protecting Atlantis, the city's drone weapons, and the weapons platforms deployed throughout the star system. Eventually however, the weapons platforms were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair, and the city's supply of drone weapons was being diminished far faster than it could be replaced. Finally, the Ancient Council decided to sink the city, abandon the galaxy through the Stargate and return to Earth, leaving the Pegasus galaxy at the mercy of the victorious Wraith, who began to feed mercilessly on their human herds. 
Shortly after this period, the Wraith came under assault by a new enemy: the replicator Asurans who were abandoned experiments of the Lanteans. To combat this foe, the Wraith disabled the directive in the Asurans base code that forced them to attack the Wraith. The Asurans retreated to their homeworld and remained there, leaving the Wraith once again in control of the galaxy. 
Arrival of the Tau'riEdit
- "We're not like the Ancients: we're not gonna sit around and wait. We don't back off; we have the capacity and the will to go kick their asses for a change."
- —John Sheppard
The Wraith continued their feeding pattern where they would abduct humans and take their life force after which they entered into a hibernative state allowing the human herds to grow while they slumbered. While this happened, they left a few caretakers to watch over them until the time was right to awaken. This cycle continued for 10,000 years until the Atlantis Expedition arrived in the Pegasus galaxy and occupied the Ancient city of Atlantis. The Wraith first encountered the humans of Earth on the planet Athos when Wraith darts were sent to abduct humans to feed on. A team was sent to the Wraith homeworld which was led by Major John Sheppard and Lt. Ford, on a rescue mission the retrieve their people.When the team arrived to the planet, via Puddle Jumper, they discovered that their people were taken to a holding cell aboard a hive-ship. Meanwhile, the Keeper interrogated Col. Marshall Sumner and learned that a plentiful feeding ground—Earth—existed elsewhere in the universe, but she was unable to determine where. Upon her death at the hands of John Sheppard, the entire hive reawakened. Now that the species was moving, feeding on planets throughout the Pegasus Galaxy, no one was safe. However, there are not enough humans to sustain for long. 
Marshalling their forces, the Wraith sent a fleet to attack the planet Lantea once more, with a force of three hive-ships, along with cruiser escorts. One hive-ship was destroyed by an Ancient defense satellite that was reactivated by the Atlanteans, but they destroyed it in turn while making their way to the planet. Once in orbit, they attacked Atlantis, hoping to learn the location of Earth. The Tau'ri and the Athosians battled to preserve the city with the assistance of reinforcements from Earth, which succeeded in destroying the Wraith force, but this was only the first wave. A secondary attack force consisting of twelve hive-ships arrived and, though the Daedalus managed to destroy few, the Wraith were too many. It was decided by the expedition that trickery would be used to escape the Wraith where they faked a self-destruct of Atlantis by setting off a timed nuclear warhead and cloaking the city. Dismayed, the Wraith left the world and attempted to sustain themselves with what few humans lived in the galaxy. 
In time, however, with the lack of food and the natural territorial instincts of the Wraith, they entered into a civil war. Stronger Wraith hives began to attack weaker ones for control over the feeding grounds of the galaxy. 
- "Hives are forming alliances; the strong are attacking the weak."
- —Michael Kenmore.
- Main article: Wraith Civil War
All attempts at reusing the virus failed and forced a level of cooperation between the Wraith and the Atlantis Expedition. The Wraith known as Todd worked to assemble a fleet of hive-ships that would accompany the Atlantis Expedition and the surprise addition of the Travelers in an assault against Asuras itself. This brought about the Battle of Asuras with the allied fleet emerging victorious over the Asurans. With the battle over, the temporary unification of the Wraith fractured once more, and the Wraith resumed their old posturing as they once again returned to civil war. 
However, a new threat emerged when the former Wraith known as Michael Kenmore began a subtle first attack against Wraith hives by poisoning their food supply with a modified Hoffan drug. His plan was foiled when the Atlantis Expedition once again cooperated with Todd to fight this threat, and the hives gained a cure for the drug. After this, the collective Wraith Hives became targeted by a reactivated Attero device which threatened to destroy them but this was stopped by the efforts of the Wraith known as Todd. Since then, the Wraith have also continued to eliminate those planets whose Human inhabitants have gained an immunity from feeding through the Hoffan drug. 
- "As long as these cells are properly nourished, I don't see a life form like this ever dying of natural aging the way we do, and they'd be bloody hard to kill."
- —Carson Beckett
The majority of Wraith so far observed are male. Adult female Wraith have been seen to fill the higher echelons of Wraith society as 'Queens'. Beneath the Queens are workers, soldiers and drones. The lowest echelons are distinctly different; they lack intelligence and are larger and much more muscular.Wraith exhibit bipedal locomotion and have mostly humanoid characteristics. These characteristics include noticeable sexual dimorphism; female Wraith have protruded breasts while male Wraith exhibit noticeable facial hair. While it is unknown how Wraith reproduce, it is likely that they procreate similarly to placental mammals, given their presumed origin and other sexual characteristics similar to those of humans. The "soldier" caste, presumably also "male", exhibit noticeable muscular definition as compared to the male Wraith of the "leadership" caste, who are considerably meeker. According to Michael, the soldiers are unimaginative, and possess rigid thought patterns. Within the separate castes, however, males differ very little.  The reproductive nature of the Wraith and their life cycle is not entirely understood. There does appear to be young female adolescent members of the race. Based on their appearance, the Wraith appear to maintain a more human appearance until they reach their equivalent of puberty. However, it's not known whether this specimen was a standard member of the species or whether she would have metamorphosed into one of the female hierarchy. Furthermore, it's not known whether all young Wraith start off in this process. The Queens do appear to make use of a method of fertilization similar to insects where they secrete genetic material which results in warrior Wraith being born in pod-like structures. It was believed that this process was done so on their hive-ships. It's unknown how the two reproductive processes relate to one another. 
The Atlantis Expedition knows little of Wraith physiology, but some facts have been learned. Though humanoid in appearance, the Wraith are genetically closer to the Iratus bug than humans.The Wraith possess none of the normal human inhibiting proteins, giving them a frighteningly efficient regenerative mechanism in their genetic make-up, allowing their bodies to heal themselves. Their regenerative abilities are so powerful that, as long as the cells are properly nourished, it is unlikely that the Wraith ever die from natural causes the way that humans do. These abilities are powerful to the point that dismembered body parts have the ability to move on their own. This makes the Wraith incredibly resilient and able to survive weapon fire to the crushing depths of the ocean floor without any form of mechanical assistance. 
While the Wraith share many elements with the Iratus bug, there are aspects of their biology that are similar to humans. They contain all the necessary organs within their body that are required to digest food. However, while they may get a moments pleasure from such actions; it does not sate their hunger. 
- "All living things must eat."
- —Wraith Keeper
Nourishment for the adult Wraith is the human "life force". Humans or very similar beings (e.g., Ancients or other Wraith) are the only food source that can properly nourish a Wraith, although they are capable of cannibalism. It is also unknown whether or not the Wraith require fluids (e.g., water), to facilitate other bodily functions. The exact science of the life-force drain is not described, although it is portrayed as a materialistic process. This drain is depicted as though it could be likened to the sipping of a drink through a straw. The Wraith can drain their victims slowly in order to torture and obtain information, or just to perform an act of sadism. As the victim is drained of life, the victim experiences pain and appears to age rapidly. This is not actual physical aging, but a by-product of the feeding process.Although the Wraith possess teeth, they do not use them to puncture the epidermis of a human. Instead, they drain the life force through the use of a specialized organ that resides in the palm of their hands. This is slammed into the chest of the human typically where the heart resides. The nails puncture the skin and the feeding organ begins to drain the life force. During the feeding process, the victim is injected with a special enzyme. It strengthens the human body temporarily and ensures that the heart continues to beat. This is so the victim does not die immediately. The feeding process is so traumatic and without the special enzyme, the body of the human would shut down far sooner than the Wraith would like. Simply put, they make a victim stronger so they can take more time to kill them. In most cases the enzyme is released slowly into the bloodstream throughout the feeding process. 
Large doses of this enzyme have been known to increase the strength, speed and agility of regular humans. Lieutenant Aiden Ford became the first of these 'supermen' when he received a large dose of the enzyme after the death of the Wraith feeding on him. The numerous drawbacks of the high dose include altered brain chemistry and addiction to the drug requiring addicts to actively search for and kill Wraith to obtain it. 
The Wraith are known to employ the feeding mechanism and the enzyme as a form of interrogation tool in order to brainwash humans. The process involves constantly taking the life of a person and returning it back to them making the human see how they would look as they age. The return of their life has a euphoric quality on the human. This was one of the methods through which the Wraith gained worshippers. The enzyme is a key component of this process and the worshipper becomes addicted to the feeding. Being deprived of this results in a process similar to Wraith enzyme withdrawal and can be incredibly painful. This ensures that the worshipper remains loyal to the Wraith and are quite willing to betray their ideals or former friends for the gift the Wraith give them. Due to the traumatic nature of the feeding cycle, the stronger the individual the more indoctrinated they become as weak individuals die in the process. Despite the use of a special enzyme during the feeding process, the act of draining a life force from a human is extremely painful for the prey. For some, even a partial feeding can cause the person to simply die from the trauma they sustained. It appears that there have been attempts by the Wraith at improving the efficiency of the feeding process. 
The Wraith can consume human food and drinks, but apparently it gives them no nourishment and is strictly done for pleasure. This is apparently considered to be a more sophisticated type of enjoyment, and not all Wraith do this. When the Wraith are young however, they consume normal human foods (which explains their possession of a fully functional digestive system). As the Wraith mature, they begin to crave feeding on the human "life force", regardless of whether or not they have tasted it before. 
Wraith are also able to give back life. "The Gift of Life", as a Wraith referred to it, is typically reserved for devout worshippers and their "brothers". John Sheppard was returned to normal and perhaps even younger than he was previously after being fed upon numerous times by a Wraith, who he escaped with from Kolya's prison. Dr. McKay commented on how he looked younger than he did before. This appears to be done after the Wraith has fed.  This can also apparently revive the dead as Kenny uses it to revive a dead Ronon.
The ability to heal is apparently connected to how recently they have fed. If one has recently fed, they will heal almost instantly, though one who hasn't fed in some time is much weaker, but still quite strong. Even bullet holes quickly seal themselves like evaporating water. Females have a much stronger immune system than males. The species also has advanced telepathic abilities: they can force their prey to see things that are not there, and can use their mental powers to forcefully interrogate humans, though they are incapable of actually reading a human mind, but rather read there intentions (e.g. if they are bluffing). The Wraith also release a sticky, web-like substance that they use to cocoon victims for future feedings. 
- "Do not trust your eyes. The Wraith can make you see things that are not there."
While the Wraith have tongues and vocal cords, their primary means of communication is telepathic in nature. In effect, the Wraith have developed a telepathic network, allowing for communication over vast distances. It has been determined that the proper introduction of Wraith DNA into human DNA, likely via gene splicing, permits humans the ability to access the Wraith mental network, although the humans who do connect can be summarily controlled by the Wraith, due to superior psionic abilities. Even a small amount of properly introduced DNA is enough to allow this telepathic ability to occur; it remained even after a number of generations of the genes being "watered down" by breeding with humans without this modification. After the initial 'infiltration' by Teyla into the telepathic network, the Wraith began to segregate their communication network to prevent sensitive information from being received by their enemies.  The Wraith are capable of projecting psychic projections making shadowy ghosts appear in a human's field of vision. This tactic is typically employed during cullings and battle in order to confuse the enemy. They use the hallucinations to keep the people in one place so it makes them easier to cull. During this time they use a shadow/ghost to scare the people away from the forest. A trained mind is capable of ignoring this threat and instead focus on the Wraith. The Keeper of a Wraith hive's telepathy is even more enhanced allowing them to cause humans to kneel before them and implant suggestions in their mind. This makes for an excellent interrogation tool and a Keeper is capable of gathering data from a captured human with ease. This trait appears to be consistent among female Wraith as the Hive Queens are also capable of these abilities and are able to incapacitate humans who fall under their telepathic abilities. These telepathic abilities can even get a human to unwillingly work for a Wraith. A Queen was capable of using this ability to determine if there are any imposters within a hive which means only people with Wraith DNA were capable of fooling a hive queen. 
The telepathy serves as a potent communication tool with the Wraith being able to interact with one another over great distances. However, individually, they were unable to use this bridge between stars. Furthermore, groups of Wraith or even former Wraith are capable of combining their abilities allowing them to summon their kind to rescue them making them a dangerous threat even when captured. However, this system can be exploited and Wraith are able to keep their thoughts shielded from their own kind, preventing one of them from realizing the intentions of the hive. 
Hive Queens possess some of the strongest telepathic abilities known, and are quite capable of disarming military personnel by causing them to drop their weapons or incapacitating them. They were able to disarm an opponent in order to feed easier. This telepathy even allowed them to take over the mind of a human with Wraith DNA who are then controlled like a puppet by the Queen. Similarly, two powerful telepaths with Wraith DNA are capable of taking control over a Queen but this can be a dangerous process as the Hive Queen works to destroy the intruders mental defenses. In addition, it appears that they are capable of destroying a sentient mind when given the opportunity and seemed capable of killing an unborn child within their mother's womb through telepathy alone. 
Little was known of Wraith culture itself except that it was focused upon culling the human populations of the galaxy for feedings. Concepts such as beauty and comradeship do appear to be present within the vampiric species however. One Wraith that had been captured by the Genii for an unspecified amount of time declared that his escape attempt was worth seeing the stars once again. In addition to this, the same Wraith performed the Gift of Life on a human which they only did so to their most devout of worshippers and their "brothers". Despite being hated by a majority of humans within the Pegasus galaxy, the Wraith were known to be served by Wraith worshippers who would be allowed to live for their obedience.
- "They hibernate between cullings aboard their great ships, sometimes for centuries at a time."
The Wraith as a collective species go through long hibernation cycles, lasting hundreds of years. Their massive hive-ships contain untold numbers of hibernation pods. During this time only a small number of them move about, enough to keep their victim worlds on edge. The sleeping masses are watched over by a small group led by the Keeper, one Wraith designated with their care whose death would signal their premature awakening—as it did when she was killed by Major John Sheppard. 
- "Well, for one, they seem to be territorial. Very much so, it turns out. They're not a united foe like we once believed."
To outsiders, the Wraith may seem like a united race that are determined to cull all humans in their path. However, they are known to posses an extremely strong territorial instinct. This makes inter-hive cooperation rare and two hives engaged in the culling of a planet can cause tensions to rise. They are extremely fierce in the defense of their own territories and kill any trespassers that enter their feeding grounds. Politically, the Wraith appear to have lacked any form of united government since the end of the war with the Lanteans. 
After being awakened from their slumber by the arrival of the Atlantis Expedition, the Wraith attempted to discover the location of Earth, which was a rich feeding ground that contained far more humans than the worlds of the Pegasus galaxy combined. The Wraith had grown increasingly desperate due to the lack of food as they had prematurely woken up from their hibernation. With too few humans to feed the waking Wraith, the species entered into their civil war with the strong attacking the weak. As such, it is uncommon for two Hive Queens to cooperate with one another. However, the rise of threats that might destroy the Wraith has led to rare moments of cooperation. Despite this, treachery is possible among a hive's ranks with some members willing to support a rival hive. 
- "No retreat in the face of battle. No sympathy for the fallen. No mercy for our enemies."
- —Wraith Commander
The Wraith are focused around a hive-based society similar to some species of insects, but are not a collective mind despite their telepathy. Their society and culture was very different when compared to that of humanity. The leaders of a hive typically consisted of female Hive Queens who are in command of a hive-ship. They are a vital component within their society as without them, new soldiers cannot be bred. While this is the case, there are cases where a male has held the authority of ruler of the hive. Beneath this leadership cast lie the majority of the Wraith which consist of males. The first category consists of intelligent "commanders", who serve as lieutenants and scientists. Beneath them lies the masked warriors who perform most of the general duties such as defending the hive or participating in attacks or cullings. Another caste present within Wraith society of which little is known consists of a group known as Keepers. This caste was tasked with maintaining the organic technology of their race.  Perhaps as a result of their hive based society, the Wraith appear to show little regard to their own lives with the male warriors as well as commanders perfectly willing to make use of self destruct mechanisms to kill themselves if facing capture. Wraith fighters have even demonstrated the willingness to engage in suicide plunges if their carrier vessels have been destroyed. Furthermore, they are quite willing to die as long as their enemies die with them. However, if there is a potential threat or resource of their hive that might be lost in such a maneuver, then the individual Wraith are willing to prevent actions that might destroy it. There are a rare few, however, that seem willing to bargain for their own lives. The Wraith also seem to exhibit a form of racial purity and seem to distance or even be hostile towards those members of their kind that have been turned into humans. They are noted to be capable of sensing the humanity in these Wraith. In addition to these qualities, the Wraith have shown several ruthless traits such as not showing sympathy for the fallen and not giving mercy to their enemies. They also seem to state that there should not be any retreat in a battle. Though there are times when they do seem to retreat when there have been a great deal of loss suffered. 
One practice that demonstrates that harsh nature of Wraith society is the fact that they are able and willing to engage in cannibalism in times of starvation. Hive Queens have been known to threaten their lieutenants by feeding on them if they did not accomplish the tasks set on them. The Queens have also shown no hesitation on feeding on a member of their kind that was formerly a Wraith and had been turned into a human. In battle, commanders have been documented to feed upon dying or injured Wraith Warriors to continue fighting, even for mere seconds. Closely linked to the Wraith and their culture are the Wraith worshippers, who live among their masters serving as their eyes and ears among human cultures. These followers are known to worship the Wraith and are devoted to them. Some of them are actually broken through Wraith interrogation techniques and become addicted to the feeding process. Beyond those followers, there are no other humans that work among the Wraith as they are considered food. There are a rare few humans who are not fed on and instead outfitted with tracking devices thus turning them into "runners", which serve as sport for the Wraith. This meant that they were quite despised by the humans of the Pegasus galaxy. The Wraith themselves have shown disgust towards the Asurans, who they consider abominations for not being alive and thus immune from the Wraith feeding process. 
Unlike humans and other species, the Wraith can be described as an almost nomadic culture which are based on their massive hive-ships and vessels which travel space in order to cull inhabitants for feeding. Typically, the security of these vessels were minimal as the Wraith are unaccustomed for intruders reaching their great ships, being the only major space-flight capable race for ten-thousand years. While this may be the case, the Wraith are known to make use of planetary based installations for research and to serve as strongholds, although these almost always have Stargates in space preventing access without a ship. 
Within their culture, showing hesitation or apprehension as well as other such qualities was a weakness in the Wraith's eyes and treated harshly. They worked through instinct and power struggles were brutal with assassinations of queens by other queens who usurped power to become dominant. This was only present with the queens themselves as a male who accomplished the task was typically killed. This was because the hive who had their queen slain would be terrified of continuing to live without a ruler which meant that they were often quick to accept a hive queen in power. 
It was noted that Wraith were very good at playing games, and were intelligent enough to overcome the technology barrier and adapt the previously incompatible technology of other races for use with their own systems. 
Despite possessing telepathy, the Wraith do have language which appears to be a derivative of the Ancients. 
As a result of the Atlantis Expedition's presence in the Pegasus Galaxy, both directly and indirectly, a number of variant subspecies of Wraith have developed who are viewed with hostility by the Wraith. These include the Human-form Wraith, the Bug People, Michael's experiments and, most notably, the Hybrids. 
- Main article: Wraith technology
The technology used by the Wraith, while advanced compared to the Goa'uld and the majority of civilizations in both the Milky Way and Pegasus galaxies, is far inferior to the technologies of the Lanteans, Asurans, Asgard, Tau'ri, and Ori.
Wraith technology is unique in that most of it has an organic base to it. The Wraith are almost unique in the known universe for being a space-faring race that lacks shield technology. This is likely because Lantean weapons technology can tear through all but the most advanced shields with minimal effort, and so they would have been a waste of time and energy. Something which has yet to be covered is what, exactly, powers Wraith vessels; moving a hive-ship and powering its massive weapon banks must consume vast amounts of power, however it is known that whatever powers them is nowhere as efficient as Lantean power sources. Wraith technology is rarely able to reach it's full potential due this inefficient power generation, which was demonstrated when a hive-ship was equipped with multiple Lantean ZPMs, making it all but invincible, possessing far improved structural integrity, hull density, and weapons capabilities. 
There is also an unknown weakness in all Wraith technology, possibly the above mentioned power issue, which the Lanteans believed would allow them to turn the tide of the war to their favour again if exploited correctly.