The Zoat are an ancient alien race that was enslaved by the Tyranids and incorporated into the multitudes of subservient bioforms that serve the Hive Mind. They were used as Tyranid "diplomats" since they were more capable of the intelligent thought, logic, linguistics and diplomacy that the other, more animalistic Tyranid species did not engage in. The use of such alien ambassadors was seen as a good way for the Hive Mind to scout out new races and determine how useful their incorporation into the Tyranid genome would be for the Tyranids' never-ending quest to further their own evolution.
Zoats were an ancient alien species that were most likely enslaved by the Tyranids and incorporated into their ranks. The Tyranids adapted the Zoat's natural abilities and used them primarily as investigators, their main role being to understand and communicate with various other intelligent species encountered by the Tyranid swarms that were not a part of the Hive Mind. The Zoat were capable of assimilating information about languages and psychology with stunning speed, making rapid and accurate leaps in their comprehension of alien creatures. Due to this innate capability for understanding the subtlest nuances of facial and body language, the Zoat were remarkably charismatic and enigmatic creatures who were able to convey more meaning in a look or gesture than a native of the same culture could manage in a sentence.
Although they were a slave race, the Zoat were useful to the Tyranid Hive Fleets and were often used to subvert members of other alien races to bring them under the control of the Hive Mind, leading them against those who tried to resist the Tyranids. In keeping with this role, the Zoat were bio-engineered to be tremendously strong warriors with thick, horny hides. Driven forward by their four powerful legs, a charging Zoat was like an organic battering ram of hide and muscle, their sheer speed and momentum keeping them moving forward even when mortally wounded. In hand-to-hand combat a Zoat could crush most opponents in seconds, proving to other races the awesome power of the Tyranids.
Rebellion by Zoat from Tyranid control was not unknown, but was extremely rare, due to the Tyranids' naturally secreting a special "slave-hormone" which suppressed the Zoats' natural sense of independence and kept them docile servants under the Hive Mind's psychic control. However, renegade Zoats did exist throughout the universe, where they had broken away from the Hive Fleets or had become lost during scouting or exploration missions. Without the inhibiting influence of the Tyranid slave-hormone, the Zoat were able to develop strong psychic abilties. The range of these independent Zoat communities was incredibly-diverse, with small groups isolated from each other on widely scattered planets across the galaxy.
The Zoat shared the same six-limbed structure as those of the Tyranid Warrior bioform, probably an evolved bio-construct created using the Tyranid's own genetic material. Physically, the Zoats are centauroid, looking similar to the centaurs of ancient human myth with two muscular arms and no visible mouths, though they were clearly reptilian in nature. They had thick, scaly hides and tremendous strength which made them deadly in combat. It may be that the Hive Mind found these creatures' usefulness to be less than it had imagined, for the Zoat have been rarely seen by the Imperium or the other intelligent races of the Milky Way Galaxy since the early years of the Tyranid invasion almost 300 Terran years ago. In recent times, the Hive Fleets have sought only to absorb more bio-mass, not conduct diplomacy.
- Advanced Space Crusade (Board Game)
- Codex: Tyranids (2nd Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), p. 202
- Warhammer 40,000 Chapter Approved - The Book of the Astronomican
- White Dwarf 145 (US), "Tyranids" by Andy Chambers and Jervis Johnson, pp. 36-52