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Characters / Friendship Is Magic: Races

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Main Index
The Main Cast: Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Spike, Starlight Glimmer, the Cutie Mark Crusaders
Supporting Cast: The Princesses (Princess Celestia, Princess Luna), Mane Family Members, the School of Friendship, Ponyville, Other Locations, Animal Companions
Antagonists: Major Villains (Queen Chrysalis, King Sombra, Lord Tirek, Cozy Glow), Dangerous Creatures, Jerks and Bullies, Redeemed Antagonists (Discord)
World of Equestria: Races, Historical Figures, the 2017 Movie, Expanded Universe, Toyline Exclusive, Miscellaneous
Minor Characters: One-Shots, Other Characters, Background Ponies (Common Background Ponies, Special Background Ponies, Other Background Ponies)
Equestria Girls: Heroines (Sunset Shimmer), Villains, Supporting Cast


The world of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is vast, with many races beyond just the ponies inhabiting it. Some of these races only feature in a single spotlight episode, while others have bcome recurring staples of the series with several of their members, or the race as a whole, repeatedly featuring in episodes.

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The pony races

    In General

Ponies are the dominant lifeform in the world, inhabiting the kingdom of Equestria that covers much of the world that has been explored in the series. In ancient times the three species of pony were separate tribes, but eventually became united as one tribe that founded Equestria.

  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Ponies are extremely colorful, and come in bright shades from throughout the color wheel — pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple, magenta... other shades, such as gray or white, are rarer but not extremely uncommon.
  • Either/Or Offspring: Ponies from different races reproducing will never result in a pony with magic from both tribes. They will be one or the other, or, in rare cases, neither.
  • Fantastic Racism: Friendly as they are, most ponies are either wary of other sentient species at their best, or outright xenophobic at their worst. In fact, the massive dislike the three pony races had toward each other in the beginning cost them their original homeland and nearly caused them to perish at the hooves of the Windigoes. It is largely implied that since most ponies don't get to travel outside Equestria very much, they don't get to encounter other races on a regular basis and are pretty distrustful of them as a result. On the receiving end of this trope, ponies are often looked down upon by dragons and griffons, who aren't exactly fond of their affectionate ways.
  • Improbably Female Cast: The series' central cast aside, Equestria is generally shown to have a lot more female ponies walking around than males. This can be seen in the folder image above — of all the ponies shown, less than ten of them are males. Male ponies aren't rare of course, it's just that both the main cast and the background cast are predominantly female partly by happenstance.
  • The Power of Friendship: The kingdom was founded based on this — the tribal leaders forged bonds of friendship when they were trapped in a cave together, repelling the windigos that sought to feed on their negativity. Interestingly this was for centuries downplayed toward other sapient species (with often admittedly understandable reasons), with many ponies viewing them with suspicion, disdain or outright fear. This also resulted in most ponies being utterly ignorant of the world outside Equestria. A major development for ponies as a whole over the course of the series is extending The Power of Friendship beyond Equestria's borders.
  • Secondary Sexual Characteristics: Mares have eyelashes, more slender bodies and rounded muzzles, while stallions lack eyelashes, have stockier bodies and squared muzzles.


Unicorns are one of the three main breeds of pony. Their horns allow them to cast magic spells, ranging from simple telekinesis to world-bending arcana. While all races have their own form of magic that affords them unique abilities, only the unicorns can utilize theirs in this manner.

  • Achilles' Heel: Unicorns' magic comes from their horns, so doing something to the horn can interfere with a spell in progress. Magic-disabling horn rings are used during Equestrian sports competitions to prevent unicorns from unfairly using magic to their advantage; less severely, an out-of-control spell can be stopped by licking one's hoof and applying it to the offending horn. If a unicorn's horn is broken off, they lose the ability to cast most spells and can only produce uncontrollable, explosive blasts of magic from the horn's stump.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: A unicorn's magic manifests in a colored aura specific to the caster. The color is usually taken from the pony's eyes or cutie mark.
  • Cue the Sun: Before the Royal Sisters took over the duties in ancient times, teams of unicorns were in charge of raising the sun and lowering the moon, and vice-versa, every morning and evening.
  • Fantastic Light Source: The ability to make their horn tips glow is a basic spell that almost all unicorns seem capable of, alongside telekinesis. Besides using this as a built-in flashlight of sorts, the light can be directed into a narrow beam that may or not project an image.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Before the formation of a unified Equestrian nation, the unicorns lived in a monarchy very reminiscent of The High Middle Ages.
  • Flashy Teleportation: Unicorn teleportation is preceded by and results in flashes of light at origin and destination. Few unicorns master such magic, however.
  • Mage Species: The unicorns are distinguished from other ponies by being the only ones who can consciously perform magic, and all of them are born with this ability. However, many unicorns pursue non-magical careers, and can only perform basic telekinesis and magic related to their special talent. More advanced magic requires extensive studies.
  • Power Incontinence: Some outside circumstances can cause unicorns to lose control of their magic.
    • In Twilight's cutie mark story, the explosive sound of the Sonic Rainboom happening outside caused her to shoot a beam of magic out of her horn that hatched Spike's egg, and then unleash a series of Random Effect Spells that turned her parents into potted plants, levitated four instructors into the air, and caused Spike to grow to the size of an adult dragon, destroying the roof in the process when his head busted through it.
    • Similarly, in Rarity's cutie mark story, her horn started to glow all by itself and dragged her several miles out of Ponyville and through the countryside to a giant rock that turned out to have hundreds of sparkling gems in it.
    • If a unicorn's horn is completely broken off, they can no longer perform most spells and any attempts to use their horn will result in producing explosive blasts of magic.
    • In "Princess Twilight Sparkle — Part 1", Rarity and Sweetie Belle lose control of their telekinesis as a result of Discord's Plunder Vines invading Ponyville.
  • Projectile Spell: Beyond their telekinesis, most unicorn spells affecting other creatures need to be aimed correctly. Some unicorns can actually fire a beam of destructive magic from their horns, although they quite rarely use it since they are not aggressive as a species. Because of this, it's unclear how widespread this power exactly is; it may be reserved to the most powerful, though at least all former students from the School for Gifted Unicorns seem able to do it.
  • Randomly Gifted: Every unicorn can use magic, but a very small, very lucky number of unicorns are born with extremely strong magical power, such as Sunset Shimmer, Twilight Sparkle, and Starlight Glimmer. Coincidentally or not, these special unicorns all have cutie marks that depict celestial bodies, such as a sun, moon, or star.
  • Stellar Name: Unicorns very frequently have names associated with astral bodies, and even more frequently have cutie marks of the same. Examples include Twilight Sparkle, Trixie Lulamoon, Starlight Glimmer, Sunset Shimmer, Luster Dawn, Moondancer, Sunburst, Stellar Flare, and Starswirl the Bearded.
  • Telekinesis: The most common form of unicorn magic is the ability to move objects around with magic. However, moving large and/or multiple objects at once tends to take a lot of concentration and power.
  • Training the Gift of Magic: All unicorns are born with ability to use magic, and all can telekinetically move around objects. However, more complex skills require practice and training — unicorns will need to spend a lot of time studying books and repeatedly practicing spells to truly perfect their innate talents.
  • Unicorn: Otherwise regular ponies with short, rounded horns in their foreheads. Unicorns from earlier times, as seen in flashbacks, tended to have pointier horns. It's later revealed there is at least one other sub-type of unicorn inhabiting Asian-themed regions that have narrower, more curved horns and/or pointed, elf-like ears.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Unicorns aren't known for their physical strength or athleticism, but they have access to powerful magic.
  • Wild Magic: Baby unicorns are prone to surges of magical power that allow them to do things like self-levitate, teleport, and phase through solid objects. These surges stop happening by foal age.
  • Wizarding School: Magically skilled and/or powerful unicorns have the opportunity to attend Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns in Canterlot.

    Earth ponies

Earth ponies are another of the three main breeds of pony. Their unique abilities are a natural attunement to nature, particularly the cultivation of plants, and superior physical attributes.

  • Boring, but Practical: Their innate magic is a connection with nature, along with higher physical strength and stamina than the other two races. Not flashy like a unicorn's magic or a pegasus' flight, but the series has made it very clear that said connection with nature is the most important trait in a world where the frost is painted on the windows. Life without a unicorn's magic would be inconvenient, life without a pegasus' ability to control weather would be difficult but possible, while life without the ability to effectively produce food wouldn't last long.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Food-based names are very common among earth ponies, especially ones pertaining to baked goods such as Apple Strudel, Cupcake, Carrot Cake, Cherry Jubilee, Biscuit and so on.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Most earth pony names derive from words relating to the earth, plants and/or food: Applejack, Granny Smith, Bright Macintosh and Pear Butter, Igneous Rock and Cloudy Quartz, Limestone and Marble, Mudbriar, Cupcake and Carrot Cake, Cherry Jubilee, Cheese Sandwich, Meadowbrook, Cattail, Tree Hugger, Burnt Oak, Sandbar and so on. They also tend to use Family Theme Naming — earth ponies from families with particularly cohesive "themes", traditions and livelihoods tend to have very similar names to each other.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Before the three tribes' unification, the earth ponies lived in a society reminiscent of The Middle Ages. The presence of a Chancellor, in particular, makes their ancient society resemble one from the The Late Middle Ages.
  • Green Thumb: Earth ponies make natural farmers due to their heritage making them close to the earth. Most notable in this is the Apple family, a family of farmers whose extended members live all over Equestria.
  • Super Strength: Earth ponies have greater physical strength than unicorns and pegasi. This is tied to their magic — when Lord Tirek sets about stealing Equestria's magic, for instance, he is explicitly stated as stealing the earth ponies' strength. The exact amount of strength varies greatly from pony to pony, though; most earth ponies are just strong manual laborers, but some exceptional individuals (like Big Macintosh, Applejack, Maud Pie, Lily Longsocks and Rockhoof) are complete powerhouses.


Pegasi are the third main breed of pony. They can fly, of course, walk on clouds, and manipulate the weather, which means they're in charge of maintaining Equestria's weather systems.

  • Fantastic Naming Convention: They tend to be named after weather and flight-related things; Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Flitter, Cloud Chaser, Thunderlane, Soarin', Lightning Dust, Wind Rider, Zephyr Breeze, Sky Stinger, Vapor Trail, Rolling Thunder, Wind Sprint, etc.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Before the three tribes unified, the pegasi lived in a culture heavily reminiscent of Ancient Greece — especially Sparta — in its architectural style and in the type of armor and helmets they wore.
  • Feather Fingers: Pegasi are regularly seen manipulating lightweight things with their wings. This is justified, compared to most uses of this trope, as it has been demonstrated that pegasus wing "fingers" are actual fingers with bones, meaning their wings actually are like hands. They also frequently make "hand gestures" with their wings.
  • Flight: Naturally. While individual flight ability varies, all pegasi can fly using their wings.
  • Pegasus: Ponies with feathered wings and the ability to walk on clouds. Their culture before the three tribes unified was very reminiscent of ancient Greece, tying to the Greek origins of the pegasus myth.
  • Solid Clouds: A lesser ability of the pegasi is the ability to walk on clouds and interact with them as solid objects. Without a spell to do so, unicorns and earth ponies would fall right through.
  • Super Speed: The most exceptional flyers among pegasi can move at incredible speed, leaving a trail of colors behind them.
  • Weather Manipulation: They can create gusts of wind or even tornados by flying, and can induce clouds to produce lightning and precipitation by kicking or jumping on them. On a national scale, pegasi run the weather factory in Cloudsdale which oversees creating weather for all of Equestria.
  • Wild Magic: Similar to baby unicorns, baby pegasi are able to fly not long after being born, and are often super-strong flyers. They have to re-learn how to fly as they reach foal age.


Alicorns are a combination of all three races with all of their abilities. Only a small handful of alicorns exist in the world, and the series has been very vague on where they come from and the full scope of their nature and abilities. What is known is that alicornhood is effectively synonymous with princesshood, with every alicorn bearing the title, and they are exclusively female. Through completion of some great magical feat, some normal ponies can transform into alicorns.

  • All Your Powers Combined: They have the magical abilities of unicorns, the strength of earth ponies, and the flight and weather capabilities of pegasi.
  • Always Female: All of the alicorns on the show are mares.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Alicorns' magic auras, like unicorns', manifest in colors specific to the individual using it — Celestia's is light yellow, for instance, while Luna's is deep blue and Cadance's is cyan.
  • Gentle Giant: Alicorns are taller than the average pony, yet they're all kind and helpful. The one exception is Cozy Glow after being empowered by Grogar's Bewitching Bell, though she is later turned back into a pegasus, proving that ex-alicorns are possible.
  • Hufflepuff House: Unlike with the other pony tribes and cultures that have well-defined personality types and legends surrounding their groups, very little is actually known about alicorns in general outside of them being seen as princesses by the rest of Equestria.
  • Large and in Charge: The two consistent traits concerning alicorns is that they're uniformly taller than other ponies and that they're figures of great authority in pony society. After Twilight becomes an alicorn, she grows a few inches taller as well. In the final episode, after Twilight has taken over Celestia's position, she's grown as tall and imposing as her old teacher.
  • Long-Lived: The series and assorted expanded universe material are very vague on whether they're immortal or just have very long lifespans. At the least, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are over 1000 years old and show no sign of physical aging or decrepitude. It's also not known if their lifespan is the same for all alicorns, or if the two sisters are special cases.
  • Magic Hair: This is a trait associated with the more high-ranking or older alicorns. Luna and Celestia are distinguished by their ethereal, flowing manes, which seem to be composed of the night sky and an aurora rather than regular hair. In the finale, Twilight gains a similar mane after taking over Celestia's role.
  • Physical God: The magical potential of alicorns far outstrips that of normal ponies, and aside from superpowered villains like Discord, they're implied to be the most powerful mages in the setting. While Tirek was absorbing the magic of hundreds of ponies and Discord, Twilight absorbed the magic of just three other alicorns; when the two fought, they were evenly matched.
  • Pretty Princess Powerhouse: Every alicorn on the show is a princess, and capable of both powerful offensive and defensive magic.
  • Winged Unicorn: As a result of being essentially unicorns and pegasi at the same time.

    Crystal ponies
A Crystal Guard.

Crystal ponies are a subspecies of earth pony that inhabit the Crystal Empire to Equestria's north. Possessing crystalline, angular designs (though not always noticeable outside of their hair), they can wield a type of magic specific to them thanks to the Crystal Heart that resides in their nation. 1,000 years ago, they and the Crystal Empire were ruled by the tyrannical King Sombra and were banished from Equestria by his curse, but they returned in the modern era during the events of "The Crystal Empire".

  • Crystalline Creature: They're normally regular ponies by all appearances, outside of a faceted gleam to their eyes, but when they're especially happy and charged with magic they gain a faceted, sparkling texture over their bodies and become slightly transparent as well.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After being abused and enslaved by King Sombra, they power up the Crystal Heart when the opportunity presents itself and blow him into oblivion.
  • Eternal English: Despite having been gone for 1,000 years, they have no problem speaking modern Ponish, even though Princess Luna did have problems and spoke in antiquated language despite having been banished after the Crystal Empire was.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Many of their names incorporate the names of precious stones; Amber Laurel, Amethyst Shard, Bright Smile, Crystal Beau, Golden Glitter, Ivory Rook, etc.
  • Fleur de Lis: Many of their cutie marks feature these in various colors and combinations.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Part of Sombra's curse was to fog up their memories of him and the Empire so they wouldn't know how to stop his rebirth. They recovered from it eventually.
  • Living Mood Ring: When they're sad or depressed, they have dull colors and plain, limp and droopy manes. When in better moods and at peace, their colors are brighter and their manes are shinier and fuller. When they're genuinely happy and full of hope, they sparkle like gemstones and become slightly faceted and transparent, and their hair styles change to more elaborate designs.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Crystal Heart that protects them is a giant magical crystal carved in the shape of a heart.
  • Off-Model: Their eye reflections don't always stay polygonal, occasionally switching to the rounded style of other ponies'.
  • The Power of Love: The magic they wield that empowers the Crystal Heart and keeps the frozen northern storms at bay is Love.
  • Slave Mooks: In the first Bad Future in "The Cutie Re-mark", Sombra succeeds in reestablishing control over the Crystal Empire and enslave its inhabitants. Once he does this, he then fits the crystal ponies with mind-control helmets and sends them out as his armies in his war against Equestria.
  • Slave Race: They were King Sombra's slaves when he ruled the Crystal Empire, and he intends to turn them back into this when he returns. In the first Bad Future in "The Cutie Re-mark", he succeeds, apparently through the use of mind-control helmets.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: There are toys of ten other ponies in crystal pony form, but no toys of any natural crystal ponies.

    Saddle Arabians

Very little is known of these equine allies of Equestria, with only three having shown up so far in the series and only one of them speaking. They originate in a fairly distant land called Saddle Arabia and do not appear to be true ponies, albeit they do come in at least the equivalent of earth pony and unicorn types. They are characterized by their large size, a lack of cutie marks and bodies with more conventional/realistic horse proportions.

  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Besides their name, their clothing and individual names are strongly reminiscent of real-life Arabian culture.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: They have far more realistic horselike proportions than other pony races, including hooves distinct from the rest of their legs. They also lack cutie marks.

Recurring races

The griffons doing what they do best... not getting along.

Griffons are a race of half-avian, half-feline beings hailing from Griffonstone, a city in the mountains far to the east of Equestria. In ancient times they were a prosperous, mighty people, but fell on hard times after their king's treasure was stolen, although it's implied they're starting to pick themselves back up.

  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Not usually — for the most part they have the same color schemes that regular big cats and birds of prey do, alongside some pink and mint green highlights — but some are as colorful as the ponies: the Equestria Games griffon team included three members who were, respectively, pink and maroon, solid purple and cyan with teal head and wing feathers, while Gallus is bright blue and yellow.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: They all have names that begin with "G": Gilda, Greta, Grandpa Gruff, Guto, Grover, Gallus, Gustav le Grand, Gabriela/Gabby...
  • The Good King: They used to be ruled by a king, ages ago, but their monarchy ended when their royal artefact was stolen. In the modern days it seems that Granpda Gruff acts as the leader of the race as a Wasteland Elder archetype.
  • Greed: Their obsession with wealth is their defining cultural trait. The ancient griffons hoarded gold and treasure like dragons, while the modern ones are obsessed with money and won't perform any kind of service, no matter how trivial, without compensation.
    Rainbow Dash: Uh, you think you could tighten the strap on my helmet?
    Storekeeper: Can you give me more bits?
    Rainbow Dash: Nevermind, I got it. So how deep is this abyss?
    Storekeeper: How deep are your pockets?
    Rainbow Dash: Don't you griffons ever talk about anything but bits?
    Storekeeper: Gimme some bits and I'll answer.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: They were once a proud race with a great kingdom and a storied history, but after losing their idol they stopped caring about anything beyond personal gain and went into decline. All that's left of King Grover's splendid kingdom are a ramshackle, backwater slum and a surly, disorganized people milling around its streets.
  • Jerkass: Most griffons are not very pleasant, even to each other. Gallus says their equivalent of Hearth's Warming Eve (Christmas) is "the one day of the year griffons are nice to each other. Well, as nice as we can be."
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: They're the classical type, with the main body, tail, and rear limbs of a lion, and the front limbs, wings, and head of an eagle; some are more varied in which kinds of big cats or birds of prey their bodies incorporate, with the hindquarters of tigers or the forequarters of owls.
  • Planet of Hats: Griffons are rude, selfish, and greedy almost to a rule.
  • Wretched Hive: Griffonstone is a family-friendly example, a run-down slum of a dump where everyone is greedy for bits and will overcharge you for anything they can charge you for. Thanks to Pinkie teaching Gilda how to be generous, the city is slowly starting to improve, with Griffons like Gabby being inspired to help others.


Dragons are a powerful species of winged reptiles that live in the Dragon Lands, far to the southeast of Equestria. They hoard and eat rocks as their primary food source, and particularly love gemstones. Notorious for their aggressive behavior, they follow the rule of the Dragon Lord.

  • Abdicate the Throne: The Dragon Lords, the rulers of the dragons, seem to operate under some sort of term limits — after an unspecified amount of time, they must step down from their position and allow other dragons to compete in the Gauntlet to select a new Dragon Lord.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Zig-zagged. While most of them are apparently inherently aggressive, greedy monsters with a disdain for weaker beings like in Scandinavian myths, they'd rather spend all day napping in their lairs and never seem to go out of their way to torment ponies.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Crackle has eyelashes, but "Crackle's cousin" (Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash and Rarity in a dragon costume that also has eyelashes), is assumed to be male by the purple teenage dragon. The other dragons might have not noticed the eyelashes on the costume.
  • Armored Dragons: Dragons in armor feature quite heavily throughout "Gauntlet of Fire". Lord Torch is never seen without his black plate armor, and most of the dragons competing in the Gauntlet wear armor as well.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Aside from breathing fire, they eat gems, have anywhere from ten to four limbs, retractable thagomizers, belly buttons, and head decorations ranging from horns to hair to, in Spike's case, what seems to be a green rooster's combnote . They don't all have that full list of features, so this is also a case of bizarrely wide morphism.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: While most of their actions are vile to the ponies, being rude, ferocious and greedy seems to be the norm in draconic culture, given it mainly revolves around Asskicking Equals Authority.
  • Breath Weapon: As expected, they can all breathe fire, which can be of varying colors.
  • The Bully: In most cases they are usually this, with a special mention to the teenage dragons.
  • Delinquents: The teenage dragons Spike has the misfortune to meet are mean-spirited enough to smash phoenix eggs for fun.
  • Dragon Hoard: The dragons keep hoards of jewels and other treasure, the implication being that these pull double duty as pantries, since dragons eat gems. The teenagers are shown to play a game of "King of the Hoard" when hanging out together.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: Dragons eat many things but mostly prefer gemstones. This makes their treasure piles more like stored-up rations.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Dragon names tend to be short, one- to two-syllable words usually referring to body parts, noises or something to do with fire — Spike, Garble, Crackle, Ember, Torch, Smolder, Scales...
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • They look down on ponies in general as weak and soft, particularly the importance they place on "friendship". Until Ember became Dragon Lord they made no effort at all to forge relations with ponies or other species in general, at best leaving them alone, at worst terrorizing them. One result of this was that ponies knew almost nothing about their culture.
    • In the comics, they're on the receiving end of it. Spike learns that a number of dragons do live among ponies in Manehattan, but are subject to profiling and prejudice on account of the fact they're still dragons, even though they're perfectly nice unlike most other dragons.
  • Gem-Encrusted: Crackle the costume is covered in gems because Rarity designed it, but the real Crackle is also like this.
  • Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: All the adult dragons seen so far — the dragons from "Dragonshy" and "Owl's Well", Spike during his greed-induced growth spurt, Torch — have been absolutely enormous, as big as houses if not substantially bigger. By contrast, young dragons have been much, much smaller, from maybe twice the size of a pony (Garble and his gang) to around pony-sized (Ember) to the size of a pony foal (Spike). Hatchling dragons are about the same size as baby ponies.
  • Gonk: You know Rarity's ugly, slap-dash dragon disguise? A real dragon looks like that and their name is Crackle.
  • Greed: It's their racial trait, and exercising it too much can cause rapid and massive growth in their body size (while at the same time deteriorating their minds). "Secret of My Excess" explains exactly why it is that both dragons encountered up to that point had massive hoards of valuables. It seems most dragons don't grow from greed though, going through a slower, more normal maturation, to the extent that Smolder refers to "greed-induced bigness" as completely different from growing up.
  • Immune to Fire: Dragons are completely immune to flame and heat, and often swim and relax in pools of lava.
  • Jerkass: Most of the dragons fall under this, especially the teenage ones. "Basil" is indifferent to the harm it does and the teenage dragons are actively malicious.
  • Lazy Dragon: The dragon in "Dragonshy" spends most of the episode sleeping on his hoard, and it's stated he will keep sleeping for a century if left undisturbed. The biggest reaction he has to the ponies before Rainbow Dash kicks him in the snout is at most to stretch and go right back to sleep. He only poses a passive threat due to the clouds of smoke he breaths out while snoring.
  • Leitmotif: Straight-up rock for the teenage dragons.
  • Long-Lived: Dragon lifespans are not explicitly stated, but the presence of an adult-looking Torch during Flash Magnus' time implies that they can live for well over a millennium.
  • Metamorphosis: Hatchling dragons are born wingless. They acquire wings later in life during a process called "the molt", which can be equated to dragon puberty. It's a dangerous phase of their life, as molting youngsters emit a smell that makes it both shunned by other dragons and attract dangerous predators. The final stage of the molt involves a rocky chrysalis forming around the young dragon, before emerging shortly thereafter, now winged and ready to take flight.
  • Noble Demon: They may be dangerous and greedy, but the season six episode "Gauntlet of Fire" shows that, while they aren't fond of pony concepts such as friendship and companionship, they have a well-organized hierarchy and most of them would prefer to leave the ponies alone even if they don't really understand their customs. When Ember becomes their new Dragon Lord, she's more than willing to create bridges with ponykind and improve the relations between both species.
  • No Name Given: The red and green dragons from "Dragonshy" and "Owl's Well that Ends Well".
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: While most dragons lack this, the purple member of the gang of teenage dragons has a mop of yellow hair rather than the other dragons' spikes and horns.
  • Ocular Gushers: When Fluttershy yells at him for roaring at her friends after Rainbow Dash kicked him in the face, "Basil" bursts into tears which resembles a rainstorm to the tiny ponies.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Bizarre Alien Biology aside, most of the dragons' designs take after the classic European dragon as a basic template, including their characterization as powerful, ferocious monsters with a greedy behavior. They're born flightless, only growing wings during puberty, and while young are bipedal and not much larger than a large pony. Adult dragons, instead, are quadrupedal and can grow larger than a house. Most have fins or frills running down their heads and backs, and some have horns as well or instead of these; a few have Non-Mammalian Hair. They hoard and eat gemstones and are immune to fire, living in volcanic lands and bathing in lava like others bathe in water. They're also implied to be very long-lived.
  • Palette Swap:
    • The red and green adult dragons are palette swaps of one another that were used in order to save the animation team time. "Dragon Quest" reuses this model, including the red and green versions alongside a sky-blue one and black one with purple spikes, for the dragons lounging around the dragon lands.
    • The dragons seen in the migration scene in "Dragon Quest" all use one of two models — one similar to the dragons in "Dragonshy" and "Owl's Well That End Well" but with only one spine on the head and proportionally smaller front limbs, and one with two stubby horns, no spines and a large chin and lower jaw — recolored in a rainbow of different shades.
  • Planet of Hats: Dragons are almost universally selfish, rude, crude, surly. While the latter two tend to fade with age, older dragons still aren't very nice.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: The adult dragons are HUGE. The dragon from "Dragonshy" was large enough that his eyes alone were the size of ponies, Spike's giant form towered several stories in the air when rearing on his back legs, and Torch is so big that Ember — who is already twice as tall as most ponies when standing up — is maybe the size of one of his knuckles.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Especially the teenage dragons. Garble in particular, who seems to be exceptionally malicious even by the standards of his own kind.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Dragons can breath fire, so of course they are also completely immune to heat, to the point of bathing in lava, otherwise their own Breath Weapon would cook their innards.
  • Shadow Archetype: The gang of teenage dragons is this to Spike. Unlike the kind, helpful Spike, they're a group of violent, bigoted thugs, showing what Spike might have become had he been raised among dragons.
  • Super Toughness: Being covered in scales and living rather rough lives in the Dragonlands, dragons are consistently shown to be extremely sturdy. Besides being immune to fire and regularly bathing in lava, they can weather things that would put most other races in a hospital. Even relatively young specimens like Spike can endure impressive amount of punishment, and end up winded at best.
  • Technicolor Fire: While most dragons breathe bright yellow fire, more colorful variations exist: Spike's is emerald green, Ember's is bright pink and Smolder's is yellow with a blue-and-pink core.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The delinquent dragons from "Dragon Quest". The full-grown adult dragons only attack when provoked and greed-filled Spike, while destructive, more or less acts out of instinct and avoids lethal force when attacked. The delinquent dragons are full-on Jerkasses and love every minute of it, whether it's ridiculing baby dragons, their utter disrespect for ponies (even Princess Celestia), kidnapping phoenix chicks, or smashing phoenix eggs.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Besides the standard four-legs-and-two-wings dragon body type, Crackle has four pairs of legs and one pair of wings.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The adult dragons are very territorial, and the teenagers are disturbingly similar to real-life gangs of bullies.
  • Would Hit a Girl: They have no problem attempting to attack the ponies, even if they are female. In "Gauntlet of Fire", Garble has no problems attacking Princess Ember, despite her being both a girl and the current Dragon Lord's daughter.
  • Would Hurt a Child: They have no problem harming or threatening Spike, even if he is a baby dragon. The dragon from "Owl's Well That Ends Well" tries to eat Spike, which would be cannibalism. Garble and his gang are willing to slaughter a clutch of phoenix eggs for fun.

click here  to see them reformed

A race of shapeshifters that can transform into other beings, and even some inanimate objects. They initially serve Queen Chrysalis as her troops to take over Equestria. However, following Thorax taking command of the swarm at the end of Season Six, they have reformed and are in the process of joining Equestria as a whole as one of many peaceful non-pony races.

From the Expanded Universe Fiendship Is Magic #5 comic, Chrysalis and the changelings are shown to have first come into being as a result of a rotten acorn that fell into a tainted magic pond underneath a graveyard. The seed mutated, grew into a carnivorous plant, and when it was cracked open by accident by Starswirl the Bearded, Chrysalis and her brood sprang forth.

  • Achilles' Heel:
    • The changelings are emotion eaters who get stronger when they feed on love. However, when confronted with an individual who is willing to give it to them, they are overpowered. Starlight Glimmer discovers this weakness and urges Thorax to give Chrysalis his love, who is promptly overpowered and defeated afterwards.
    • At least some changelings are capable of transforming into forms that are a good deal larger and more powerful than their usual state (namely a huge bug monster), however its implied they either can't maintain such a transformation for long and/or will be forced back into their regular form if they take a hard hit.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: Unlike their queen, these guys have an Ugly Cute thing going for them. They lose the Evil Minion part in the Season Six finale, as they turn on Chrysalis and side with the more benevolent King Thorax, and become just adorable.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: After their reformation and transformation, the changelings become extremely colorful, coming in a large palette of bright colors such as blue, green and yellow. Their individual color schemes are further accented by other bright colors in places such as their elytrae and the base of their necks.
  • Ambiguous Gender: They lack any obvious sexual characteristics that would identify them as either gender, and both male and female voices appear among them frequently. It's not even fully clear if changelings have traditional genders like other races. Somewhat subverted after their Heel–Race Turn, when some are shown to be male and some are shown to be female, albeit the physical differences are still not clear and their voices are often also ambiguous. Ocellus has longer eyelashes, but no other changelings like her have been seen yet.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The comics show they were literally Made of Evil; the changelings came into existence from a decayed acorn and a corpse-saturated pond tainted with dark magic. Possibly defied in the 100th episode, "Slice of Life", as one changeling attends the wedding without a disguise and is just casually sitting in attendance like anypony else at the wedding. Further defied in "The Times They Are a Changeling", where Spike befriends a changeling named Thorax who became a Defector from Decadence after the invasion of Canterlot. Eventually firmly Subverted in "To Where and Back Again", as it turns out the changelings' black forms are not their true forms, which they turn into after learning to share love and performing a Heel–Race Turn.
  • Animalistic Abomination:
    • They look like a twisted insect/pony hybrids, and their hole-filled hooves and blank eyes give them a disturbingly zombie-like appearance on top of that. Their origin, according to Fiendship Is Magic #5, is that they were born from some sort of corrupt magical pool underneath a graveyard, which mutated a seed into a carnivorous plant that devoured the flies and bones of the dead infesting the pool, eventually spawning the changelings as a result of its feeding.
    • Subverted and downplayed in "To Where and Back Again", as it turns out the changelings' abominable, withered black and holed form isn't their true, final form. Through sharing love, the insect-horse changelings undergo a permanent Metamorphosis into brightly colored winged beetle-deer.
  • Ascended Glitch: In Gameloft's My Little Pony Licensed Game, a changeling assumes Fleur Dis Lee's identity but pretends to be an Alicorn. This is the game's In-Universe explanation of why the Fleur Dis Lee in an earlier version had wings.
  • Bad Future: Shown at the end of the first half and most of the beginning of the second half of the Season 5 Finale, Chrysalis and the changelings are now the dominant faction in Equestria, leaving a few ponies led by Zecora to stand up against them.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The changelings change from their sickly, ugly black forms into a colorful beautiful form when they learn to love each other and feed on that. Chrysalis retaining her cruel and vindictive ways left her stuck in her holed, rotted form.
  • Bee People: They show some traits of this, as they are an insectile-looking race who follow a single, larger queen without question, attack in a swarm formation, and encase ponies in a kind of mucus membrane. Just how closely they fit the trope is unclear from what little we know of them; the main IDW comics show they have individual personalities and communicate verbally, at the very least. We eventually learn the new generations at least hatch from eggs into grub-like larva, and then turn into pupa (seen in the foreground of the scene with the eggs) before attaining their adult form. And even more there is yet another higher and stronger form they can only attain through sharing love. The changelings lose a lot of their fly-like features, and resemble beetle-deer hybrid creatures.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Invoked in "To Where and Back Again", as it turns out that following Chrysalis's lead only made the changelings continuously starve. Once Starlight and Thorax show them another way to end their Horror Hunger, they quickly make up for their previous evil acts by destroying Chrysalis' Anti-Magic throne, and freeing their prisoners from their cocoons. Several even help Shining Armor and Princess Cadance out of what's left of their destroyed cocoons while another one returns Flurry Heart to them.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: While there are individual exceptions, on the whole they view love as nothing more than a source of nourishment and power. Subverted and deconstructed in Season Six, as it turns out changelings' love hunger is a real necessity and not some thing they do for evil or fun. In the Season Six finale, the changelings learn to treat love as what it should be. Their (now former) Queen, however, cared only for her own goals, cementing her as the real evil changeling, while the others were just misguided.
  • Body Horror: They have holes all over their body, giving them a kind of a moth-eaten appearance. There is no blood, just... holes... like partially decomposed corpses. Chrysalis's issue of Fiendship is Magic makes it worse — the holes aren't natural, as fans supposed, they're scars left behind from a combat spell Celestia used against them on her first meeting with them, centuries ago and have seemingly carried on throughout generations, becoming a genetic trait of sorts. Not only that, her flashbacks show that Chrysalis used to have a very straight, smooth horn, not the gnarled and wavy one she currently does, implying Celestia's attack melted it.
  • Breakout Character: Their popularity with casual watchers and fans alike on their debut ensured they would make constant returns. After their redemption, they're now one of the most prominent sentient species in the setting.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Pre-reformation, whenever they use magic or shapeshift, their magic and flames are always a sickly green color. After their reformation, these become light blue instead.
  • Continuity Snarl: There are a few contradictions in the comics and the show as far as the changelings, their origins and their nature are concerned.
    • Chrysalis claims she used to be a child, but she emerged from the tree fully grown, and changelings are hatched from eggs rather than just emerging from the tree. Also, in the comics the holes in their legs are scars from when they were blasted by Celestia, but in the show (as can be seen in this clip), they are shown as having them even as young children — and at least one changeling, Thorax, is shown as both a legless grub alongside a hole-legged Chrysalis and later as a child with perforated legs, precluding them having been scarred alongside the rest as children.
    • Further, the comics' portrayal of changelings as The Horde and moving nomadically between targets is at odds with the reveal they have a kingdom, a permanent home hive, and historical artifacts like the Talisman of Mirage.
  • Cool Helmet: Changeling guards wear black metal helmets.
  • Dark Is Evil: They have black bodies and plain old evil. Later subverted in the Season 6 finale where the race (save Chrysalis) performs a Heel–Race Turn and goes through an Evolution Power-Up that sheds their dark, grotesque forms and gives them bodies that are brightly-colored, healthy, and stronger.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: However, neutral and even friendly changelings have appeared at various points, though in the later case he was a member of Queen Chrysalis's army.
  • Death from Above: Have a habit of dive-bombing targets while coated in magic.
  • Death Glare: They deliver this to Chrysalis en masse after defeating her and siding with their new benevolent king Thorax.
  • Deconstruction: "The Times They Are a Changeling" and "To Where and Back Again" do this to the entire changeling race. It's here we learn that the changelings' love feeding isn't some thing they do for evil or fun. Love feeding is a real necessity for them, and they really are starving. They only acted the way they have been not only because they were getting increasingly hungry and desperate, but the evil and corrupt Queen Chrysalis conditioned them since birth that stealing love is the only way for them to be fed. Fellow changeling Thorax and Starlight Glimmer show them that not only is this method totally inefficient and doesn't get them fed at all, it was only benefiting Chrysalis, who really didn't care about the well-being of her subjects and was just using the changelings for her own selfish goals. This leads to a subsequent Heel–Race Turn for the entire hive, who strike back at their ex-queen. They cure their Horror Hunger, gain a new form, and a new benevolent leader in King Thorax.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After learning that Chrysalis had been keeping them literally starved for love to stay in power the entire time, they turn against her and side with their newly appointed king Thorax, and are perfectly willing to fight back if she ever shows her face again.
  • Doppelgänger: They fit the basic requirements, being a species of shapeshifters who turn into perfect imitations of ponies and other creatures (and even inanimate objects like rocks) so they can replace the original in order to harvest love. Unlike most examples of this trope, they don't seem to have any mind-reading abilities — Queen Chrysalis would have done a much better job of impersonating Princess Cadance if she did.
  • Dub Name Change: Since Italian folklore doesn't have an equivalent of changeling tales and consequently lacks a native word for "changeling", the Italian dub refers to them as "mutants" (mutanti).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After learning how to share love and be friends from Thorax and Starlight Glimmer, they're finally cured of their Horror Hunger and permanently gain elegant and beautiful forms as a reward. Not only that, they also gain a benevolent leader in Thorax.
  • Emotion Eater: They feed off of love, and although there's no concrete evidence this has to be harmful note , the comics show that it can be, if the changelings wish it. Of course, since they look so horrific, they rely on shapeshifting into ponies to steal the love that was original intended for the one they are mimicking. Later deconstructed, as the old way of feeding only made Chrysalis stronger while the others were left constantly starving. When Starlight Glimmer convinces them to share their love, they try it, and it actually heals them and grants them their true forms.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Whenever they shapeshift, their bodies are immolated in sickly green flames, burning off their original form to that of the pony they are attempting to mimic or vice versa.
  • Evolution Power-Up: Changelings take on brightly-colored and healthy forms and become far stronger when they share love rather than take it. Thorax becomes powerful enough to overthrow Queen Chrysalis, and the other changelings follow suit.
  • Faceless Goons: While their faces aren't concealed in the way those of this type of mooks usually are, their complete lack of physical differences before their redemption achieves the same goal. They are completely identical evil soldiers who are given no individual personalities on-screen, and there is nothing to suggest that individual changelings are anything short of completely interchangeable or to promote sympathy towards yet another undistinguishable member of the faceless ranks. This is averted post-redemption — their greater variety of color schemes makes it easier (or, well, possible) to pick out individual changelings from the crowd; the fact that some get individual, if somewhat limited, characterization (or any sort of speaking role, really) also helps to see them as something more than an obstacle for the heroes to beat down.
  • The Fair Folk: A whole race of Voluntary Shapeshifting Emotion Eaters. Though departing from this trope, they're not as dangerous individually. They're also named after a type of fairy that is switched in the place of human children, which the fairies would steal and replace with their own — replacing and masquerading as other people to feed on love is the changelings' modus operandi. By the end of Season 6, the changelings (save Chrysalis) subvert this trope by learning how to share love and be friends. The resulting Heel–Race Turn gives them elegant and more attractive bodies that are fully healed.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Goes with the vampiric theme the changelings have going on. After learning to share love and completing their Evolution Power-Up, the changelings lose their fangs and resemble real ponies.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: They use names derived from arthropod anatomy and biology, usually ones with emphasis on sibilants, such Chrysalis, Thorax, Pharynx and Ocellus.
  • Fatal Flaw: They (or at least some of them) aren't very good actors, which eventually leads to whoever they try to deceive to eventually find out who they really are.
  • Flight: With their insectile wings. They can also still fly when changed into pegasus or alicorn.
  • Four-Legged Insect: Just so that they retain their pony-like appearance.
  • Good Feels Good: Literally in the Season Six finale. The changelings learn to love each other and feed on that love instead of taking love from others. They take on a new beautiful form and are no longer hungry and starving.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: For a race whose powers are fueled by love, they're pretty callous towards others. Subverted in the Season 6 finale, as all of the changelings (sans Chrysalis) learn to feed on love for each other instead of taking it from others.
  • Heel–Race Turn: In the Season Six finale, the changelings learn from their fellow changeling and new king Thorax how to love each other and feed on it instead of taking love from others and starving. This results in every changeling in their hive taking on a new, colorful form. Chrysalis, however, refuses to join her former subjects and remains as vindictive and evil as ever.
  • Heel Realization: In the Season 6 finale, their stunned reactions to Starlight Glimmer revealing that they can actually not starve by sharing love instead of stealing it echoes this trope, since it's also revealed that (ex-)Queen Chrysalis had been using and misleading them all along. It shortly leads into a Heel–Race Turn.
  • The Horde: Their expanded appearances in the comics gives them a barbarian impression akin to the Huns, and depict them as roving the world from target to target, infiltrating and consuming each society they encounter before moving on to the next.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: They come out of nowhere in a locust-like swarm that invades, terrorizes and is ultimately driven back. All they want from Equestria is to use their love as food. Going by My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic, their species is literally Made of Evil whose culture draws similarities to roaming barbarian hordes, invading and destroying kingdoms to feast on their love before moving on to the next feeding ground, effectively making them love-eating killer locusts. This is steadily defied throughout Season Six, and flat-out subverted in the finale, "To Where and Back Again".
  • Horror Hunger: All changelings must feed on love or they'll starve to death. How they operate is they disguise themselves as a sentient being (usually a pony) and feed on their targets' love. Later justified in Season 6, where it's revealed that Chrysalis was keeping her former subjects in constant starvation and teaching them that stealing love is the only way they'll survive, just to keep herself in power. After Thorax and Starlight Glimmer teach them how to share love instead of stealing it, the changelings pull a Heel–Race Turn, resulting in an aversion of this trope.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: "The Cutie Re-Mark" implies that the changelings eat more than love. Chrysalis remarks that the resistance's village looks "absolutely delicious" and licks her lips while glaring at Zecora, and a changeling tries to chomp down on Spike.
  • Irony: They sustain themselves by stealing love. Learning how to share love actually fills and ''heals'' them.
  • It's Raining Men: Although it's more like a meteor shower.
  • Laughably Evil: They partake in a fair bit more of Black Comedy than the other villains in the list. This is more liable to happen in the comics, though some Chewing the Scenery from Chrysalis and Silent Snarker moments from the changelings make for some subtle moments in their animated appearance.
  • Light Is Good: After their Heel–Race Turn, the changelings metamorphize into beautiful, brightly colored creatures.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Zig-zagged in "To Where and Back Again". For the most part, the changelings posing as the Mane Six appear ignorant of Starlight Glimmer's very existence, although Chrysalis herself is shown to be fully aware of who she is. Chrysalis is also aware of Twilight's position as the Princess of Friendship, and her getting a castle of her own, showing that she's been keeping herself well-informed concerning current events in Equestria.
  • Love Redeems: Only by learning how to share love instead of forcibly taking it do they redeem themselves and undergo permanent physical metamorphosis that gives them elegant, colorful forms.
  • Made of Iron: Played with. These things can charge at a magic barrier until it shatters, then hit the ground at full force and get right back up, but when it comes to actual fighting, they go down to Fluttershy accidentally tripping them while cowering in fear.
  • The Marvelous Deer: The changelings' true form. Their long-known grotesque black, holed forms are actually incomplete as a result of starvation of love. Through sharing love, they undergo Metamorphosis and become a strong, healthy, elegant, brightly colored hybrid mixture between beetles and deer. This applies less to the changelings as a whole — mostly, they resemble a healthier, colorful version of their older selves — and more so to high-ranking ones like Thorax and Pharynx, who gain antlers reminiscent of a stag beetle's jaws. Their former queen Chrysalis, however, sticks to her evil and cruel ways and stays in her black and withered form.
  • Metamorphosis: Just like Thorax, all changelings undergo this after they learn how to share love instead of stealing it. They're enveloped by a radiant chrysalis and shortly emerge as colorful and elegant hybrids of pony and beetle with full-bodied crystalline wings, a very far cry from their black, grotesque, holey, and withered form
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Queen Chrysalis had been lying to them and starving them all along for her own selfish gain, so the changelings strike back at her in the most damaging way possible: they band together and ruin her revenge plans, then oust her as queen and side with their new benevolent King Thorax.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: They are a mix of a winged insect (specifically a fly and/or a beetle) and an alicorn pony. Since the comic Fiendship Is Magic reveals they originated from a mutated plant, they're technically planimals too. In the Season Six finale, the changelings' true form is actually a mixture between stag beetles and deer.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Solid icy blue, likely a stand-in for arthropods' compound eyes. After undergoing permanent metamorphosis, all changelings gain different eye colors (purple, orange, blue, etc), but each individual still has a solid-colored, undivided eye. Chrysalis is the only exception, possessing vertebrate-style with two concentric scleras.
  • Mook Lieutenant:
    • Look closely enough and you'll see one or two wearing helmets among the army during their initial invasion of Canterlot.
    • In "To Where and Back Again", the changeling drone who takes over Princess Twilight's position is seen ordering the others around, reporting their progress directly to Chrysalis, and acts generally smarter and more competent than the others.
  • Mooks: Their role in "A Canterlot Wedding" and "To Where and Back Again". Their narrative role and characterization are entirely limited to being Chrysalis' private army and providing foes for the main characters to fight their way through (something particularly notable in "A Canterlot Wedding — Part 2", where the mane 6 mow their way through dozens of them before being brought down by wave tactics).
  • Mordor: The Changeling Kingdom is a barren, lifeless waste dominated by the twisted spire of their hive. Apparently, this was a result of their love-eating magic sterilizing the land around their hive: after their reformation, plant life starts to once again grow around it.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: They are a love-sucking, Voluntary Shapeshifting, insectoid, alicorn incubi/succubi. With some plant in there as well. They metamorphose into brightly colored beetle-ponies in "To Where and Back Again", losing their fangs and vampiric attitude.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Changelings feed by stealing love, so they're flat out evil, right? Not quite, Season six reveals that the changelings are driven by starvation for love, but because they're under the influence of the corrupt Queen Chrysalis, who has been using them the whole time, they were misled and conditioned to believe that the only way to get fed is to steal love, when sharing love is what makes them full. Chrysalis deliberately held them back from this truth to maintain her control over them. When Thorax shows the rest of the hive that sharing love is the right way, the changelings waste no time at all following his example. They really did just want something to eat.
  • Only Six Faces: All reformed changelings on-screen are of one of six variants — winged green changelings with fringed horns, winged mint green changelings with no horns, cyan changelings with no tails and two-pointed horns, blue-green changelings with no tails and two-pointed horns, yellow changelings with simple horns and winged Thorax-colored changelings with fringed horns. Thorax and Pharynx (and later, Ocellus) are the only exceptions.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The comics' backstory shows them as being the result of a Fusion Dance between an evil plant, pony skeletons and carrion-feeding insects (mostly flies).
  • Outside-Context Problem: There was nothing to suggest anything like them existed in Equestria, they were not given a backstory like every prior villain, and the big reason their invasion is so effective is that everypony is caught off-guard. The comics show Celestia confronted them prior, but apparently so far in the past their return surprised her.
  • Playing with Fire: Their magic usually involves green flames if not green glows or energy beams.
  • The Power of Love:
    • The more love they devour, the more powerful they become. Powerful enough to overpower even Princess Celestia herself.
    • Changelings become even stronger and even take on a new, bright colorful form when then feed off the love of each other.
  • Pun-Based Creature: They're insectoid equine creatures that feed parasitically on actual equines. In other words, they're horseflies.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The changelings only act the way the do because they were literally starving for love, but they have the misfortune of having Chrysalis as their leader. Once Thorax shows them a better way of love-feeding that won't leave them constantly hungry, they waste no time siding with him.
  • Ramming Always Works: Their method of choice when dealing with obstacles is bodily ramming into them.
  • Really 700 Years Old: According to the Fiendship Is Magic comic, the changelings have been around since the time of Star Swirl the Bearded. They attempted to conquer the Crystal Empire, but were scared off by the Umbrum.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: In European folklore, a changeling is a fairy child left in place of a stolen human infant — that is, a child that thieves exchanged for yours. In the show, changelings are insectoid equines capable of innate shapeshifting.
  • Scars are Forever: In the comics at least. Those holes riddling their bodies? Are a result of an attack spell that Celestia used to defeat them when she first battled them over a thousand years ago.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • At the end of their first arc of the comic, the Queen and her army are imprisoned in their castle, though they had some fun with the animated Pinkie suit, much to Chrysalis's annoyance. Twilight indicated it would take them "a while" to break out. They were put out of commission for some time, until their escape at the end of Fiendship Is Magic.
    • Fiendship Is Magic reveals that at one time in the past, Celestia defeated them and sealed them in a volcano until they were inadvertently freed by a hungry dragon.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: "The Cutie Re-Mark" shows they can impersonate ponies that are different sizes than them. One turned into a filly and Chrysalis turned into Applejack, who is a head shorter than her. "The Times Are a Changeling" shows they can even take the forms of smaller other species as shown with Thorax turning into Spike, a young dragon who's comparable to a filly in size. Season 7 shows that even a baby changeling can shapeshift into a monster many times its size.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Averted, those who mimic Applejack also copy her iconic stetson.
  • Sickly Green Glow: It's the signature color of their magic until their Heel–Race Turn.
  • Spot the Imposter: They can copy a pony perfectly; unfortunately their nasty personality will give them away. Their change of magic color into green (assuming the copied pony didn't have a green magic color to begin with), also provides a clue for the audience, though ponies apparently can't see it. As a result, someone familiar with the person they're impersonating will likely notice they're not acting like themselves. Twilight and Starlight both noticed this with someone a changeling replaced well before they were aware of their presence.
  • Succubi and Incubi: They're G-rated versions of the classical incubi and succubi, grotesque monsters that impersonate a pony's loved ones in order to feed on their life force.
  • Super Spit: In their original form, changelings can spit a sticky green slime that they use to trap and cocoon their prey. They seem to have lost this ability post-reformation.
  • The Swarm: They are not too tough but there are countless of them leading to the Zerg Rush tactic.
  • Take Over the World: They want to take over Equestria so that they can feed off of its denizen's love. In "To Where and Back Again" after Starlight Glimmer and Thorax help them have a change of heart and learn how to share love instead.
  • They Look Like Us Now: Their shapshifting allows them to infiltrate other species' societies by perfectly mimicking their appearance, passing off as regular members of the community until they strike.
  • This Was Their True Form: If they've transformed into somepony, knocking them out causes them to revert to their true form.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: They become far more friendly and peaceful following their metamorphosis.
  • Vampiric Draining: The result of their Emotion Eater powers. This is depicted as a mist of green haze coming out of their victim's bodies which the changelings then suck up through their mouths.
  • Villainous Glutton: Their whole point is to suck out the love out of you, and they have seemingly bottomless appetites. They were actually starved by Chrysalis in order to continue exerting her own power over them. The Season 6 finale "To Where and Back Again" subverts this by having them learn to share love and as a result, they're not constantly hungry anymore.
  • Villains Blend in Better: Comes with being a species of skilled shapeshifters.
  • Villains Out Shopping: A lone changeling is in attendance at Cranky and Matilda's wedding. With the exception of a few frightened foals, nopony seems to notice, and the changeling doesn't seem to have any nefarious purpose, being just another guest.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Their main power; they can take the appearance of ponies to blend in and drain love, or to confuse their enemies in a fight. "The Times They Are a Changeling" shows they're not limited to equine forms, but can also copy a dragon like Spike, or even turn into a rock for camouflage.
  • Walking Wasteland: Apparently the changeling Horror Hunger was part of why the area around their hive was so desolate, in addition to the throne's magic-absorbing properties. Them sharing love has led to a new upsurge of plant growth that makes the kingdom much more inviting.
  • Wall Crawl: Another insectoid trait; during their invasion of Canterlot, those not flying are seen walking downwards along pillars. The flashback in "The Times They Are a Changeling" shows that they are already good climbers even as newborn larvae.
  • We Have Become Complacent: During Chrysalis's rule, every changeling was a trained soldier that could make themselves a danger to an average pony at anytime. By "To Change a Changeling", under Thorax's rule, changelings no longer want to fight and are too out of practice to do it when they need to (Pharynx being the only exception).
  • Winged Unicorn: All of them technically count by way of having unicorn-like horns and insect wings, though Queen Chrysalis is much closer to the show's alicorn build. After their transformation some of them lose their horns, but they all appear to keep their wings (usually hidden under their beetle elytra).
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Revealed as these in the Season 6 finale. Their leader is a Bad Boss who forces them to live in Horror Hunger just so she can retain control. Luckily, they're ultimately able to invoke Heel–Race Turn and give her the boot.
  • Zerg Rush: When they fight someone directly (as opposed to going for shapeshifting and infiltration or laying ambushes) they usually aren't very good at it, but they have numbers on their side. In their debut, for instance, a swarm of dozens of changelings is sent to block the main characters from getting to the Elements; the ponies are able to fight their way through several waves of soldiers without too much difficulty, but are eventually brought down by sheer attrition.


Yaks are large, imposing bovines covered in shaggy fur that live in Yakyakistan, a city far to the north of Equestria. Life in the snowy region is tough and hard, but so are the yaks. While they were an isolated people for many years, they've recently opened their borders to Equestria. They are led by Prince Rutherford.

  • Berserk Button: Yaks hate things that aren't perfect and fly into a rage and smash them when presented with them.
  • Blood Knight: Played for Laughs — yaks like smashing things. A lot. It's basically a form of cultural expression to them. They smash things when they're angry. They smash things when they're happy. They smash things to celebrate — their winter holiday Snildarfest begins the night before with them gathering things to smash, and then doing so the next morning.
    Yona: Night before, yaks gather things to smash and put them in big pile. Then in morning, we smash them! In afternoon, we smash them again! In evening—
    Gallus: So it's just about smashing stuff, like all your other holidays.

    Yona: Calves in family pick out perfect smashing log. Then yaks smash it! Then yak family build perfect snow fort... and smash it! Then we hang perfect things on perfect moss pile and—
    Everyone else: You smash it.
    Yona: What you think yaks are, barbarians?
  • Brutish Bulls: They're uniformly portrayed as stubborn, arrogant and not particularly bright. They all talk in Hulk Speak, without conjugating verbs or using personal pronouns or proper nouns (they refer to themselves and everyone else by using the person's species instead), and fly into rages whenever their ridiculously high standards for everything aren't met, violently smashing and trampling whatever objects failed to live up to their expectations.
  • Dumb Muscle: Yaks are very, very strong. Not very bright, though.
  • Eyes Out of Sight: With the exception of younger members of the species, all yaks have their eyes covered by their thick hair.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: All of them have names that start with "Y": Yona, Yigrid, Yksler...Prince Rutherford is so far the only yak who doesn't follow this trend.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They take a lot of inspiration from ancient Mongolian culture.
  • Planet of Hats: All of them are loud, highly exigent, overly proud of their culture and prone to flying into a destructive rage whenever things don't match their standards.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Yaks jumping up and down can cause a tremor, which get stronger if several do it at the same time. This can make for a quite efficient attack in combat, as seen in "The Ending of the End - Part 2", where a few yaks manage to pin down Queen Chrysalis for a while despite her boosted power.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: Their speech patterns incorporate Third-Person Person, Hulk Speak, and You No Take Candle. They tend to refer to creatures, including themselves, by their race and not their name, even if they know their name; for instance, Rutherford is personal friends with Pinkie Pie and always calls her "pink pony". They also don't conjugate verbs and never use the word "the".

The hippogriffs.
The seaponies.

For centuries the hippogriffs — part pony and part eagle — lived on Mt. Aris in peace. When the Storm King came, they fled to the sea to escape, using the Pearl of Transformation to turn into seaponies. With the Storm King's defeat they have retaken their home, but using fragments of the Pearl they wear, they can change between forms at will to live on both land and sea. They are ruled by Queen Novo.

  • 100% Adoration Rating: They adore Twilight, and eagerly invite her to all kinds of activities.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: They're as colorful as the ponies of Equestria, and far more so than most other species in the series. In general, they tend towards less saturated pastel colors than the ponies: shades of cyan, lilac, light green and cream are the most common coat colors among them, with the occasional gray, pink and light orange thrown in.
  • Arboreal Abode: The hippogriffs live in houses built into enormous living trees, with doors at their bases, windows spiraling up their trunks and large, glass-sided chambers nested in the canopies, their walls growing directly from the trunks. The effect is that their city looks as much like a lush, open forest as it does like a typical settlement.
  • Child of Two Worlds: Thoroughly defied in an episode that directly deals with the trope. While the hippogriffs and seaponies have their own cultures, they are still one race and they get along just fine, so they have no problem with anyone coming or going as they wish.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Their names are composed of two words, which can be either separate or a single compound word, and have to do with the sky (Skystar, Sky Beak) or the waters (Silverstream, Terramar, Ocean Flow, Seaspray). Queen Novo is the one notable exception.
  • Furry Reminder: The hippogriffs let out loud, eagle-like screeches on a number of occasions, and the things they eat — including "salmon juice" — seem like the kind of things that would appeal to something with an eagle's taste buds.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Literally. The hippogriffs use terms like "everygriff" and "anygriff" to refer to each other; griffons will sometimes use those terms as well.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Both their forms are mixes of horse with something else — eagle in one case and fish in the other.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: As hippogriffs, they have the main body and back limbs of ponies, and the claws and wings of an eagle. Their mammalian and avian traits are fairly well blended together, rather than being sharply distinct: they heads are mostly pony in design, but their mouths come out in a beak-like protrusion, and they have feathers on their fetlocks, manes and tails of colorful feathers and mammalian ears on their avian heads.
  • Our Hippocamps Are Different: As seaponies, they have the front body of a pony, though their hooves are more delicate, and from the midsection back have a long fish tail.
  • Secondary Sexual Characteristics: Males have larger beaks than females.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: After spending so much time hiding underwater, the hippogriffs have trouble readjusting to life on the surface.
  • Token Aquatic Race: In franchise tradition, the seaponies are the only sapient aquatics (if you discount the sirens), but this time they're not a species in their own right, merely a transformed state for the hippogriffs. However, some have gotten used to living underwater while hiding from the Storm King and have chosen to continue living as seaponies in Seaquestria.
  • Transformation Trinket: After the Storm King was defeated, many hippogriffs wear fragments of the Pearl of Transformation around their necks, which lets them transform into seaponies whenever they like. "Surf and/or Turf" shows they can use their fragments to transform others into seaponies by touching hooves/claws.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Hippogriffs wear a fragment of the Pearl of Transformation around their necks that lets them change to seapony form and back again at will.

Spotlight races


A buffalo (American bison) tribe led by Chief Thunderhooves that lives in the frontier south of Equestria, and comes in conflict with pony settlers when these plant an orchard in their ancestral stampeding grounds in "Over a Barrel". In "The Return of Harmony, part 2", Discord's reign of chaos includes a trio of buffalo ballet dancers who appear in and around Ponyville.

  • Accidental Kidnapping: They accidentally kidnap Spike when they make off with the train car containing Bloomberg — they were only after the tree, and did not know Spike was sleeping in there.
  • Back for the Finale: After a long absence, they finally return in "The Ending of the End - Part 2", taking part in the Final Battle.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Purposely invoked and even commented on by Rarity, who finds their accessories intriguing.
  • The Cameo: Multiple buffalo can be seen dancing like ballerinas, complete with ballet outfits, in "The Return of Harmony, part 2" as part of Discord's chaotic rampage. They also can be seen at the very start of "Pinkie Pride", enjoying a party Cheese Sandwich made, and watching Troubleshoes' disastrous audition in "Appleloosa's Most Wanted".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They're heavily based on the Native Americans, specifically tribes that inhabit the American Great Plains.
  • Insistent Terminology: In spite of the real animal's name being American bison — true buffalo are native to South Asia and Africa — they're firmly referred to as buffalo. Granted, this is a pretty common misconception.
  • National Animal Stereotypes: American bison, one of the most iconic species of American wildlife and a stock metaphor for the displacement of the First Nations by the advancing settlers, serving as sand-ins for the plains tribes.
  • No Name Given: None of the buffalo besides Chief Thunderhooves and Little Strongheart is named in the episode or in the credits.
  • Palette Swap: All the buffalo, besides Chief Thunderhooves and Little Strongheart, use the same Flash model as each other, recolored to have either brown, russet or tan fur to make scenes with their tribe less visually monotonous.
  • This Means Warpaint: They paint their faces with designs of white, orange, red and turquoise warpaint before storming Appleloosa.


Tiny, fairy-pony-like creatures who need a light breeze to magically fly on delicate damselfly-like wings. They migrate to remote locations to collect pollen and must migrate back to their world before the portal to their world closes, as even the idyllic land of Equestria is a Death World for these tiny beings.

  • Adaptational Wimp: In G3, they can easy lift a filly. But here, a swing of a hoof or even something as small as a leaf can make enough of a gust to blow them away.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: They haven't been seen since the end of season four.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: It really isn't easy being a breezie — for them, bees are fearsome monsters, falling acorns are a bombardment of meteoroids and all but the lightest breezes seem like hurricane-force winds.
  • Lilliputians: They are "...So tiny." They're like insect-winged ponies, but the size of a small bird.
  • Mouse World: The Breezie's home resembles a miniature town of sorts, hidden behind a magic portal behind a waterfall in a remote region.
  • Mushroom House: Their hidden home dimension is filled with mushrooms of this sort, with caps with glowing blue undersides. Unusually, however, the homes don't seem to be in the stems themselves. Instead, the tall, thin stems only have a doorway at their base, while multiple windows dot the broad caps high in the air, with the impression being that the living areas are only in the caps and the stems are mostly for access.
  • No Name Given: With the exception of Seabreeze and the yellow Breezie with a green mane, which Fluttershy refers to as Twirly, none of the Breezies in the group are named.
  • Noodle People: Compared to regular ponies, their appendages are extremely thin and slender.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: They're ponies with fairy-like features such as insect wings and long antennae.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: They are noted to be this by several ponies.
  • Shout-Out: One of the Breezies has Nightmare Rarity's mane.
  • Speaking Simlish: The Breezies' language sounds like a vaguely Swedish/Gaelic gibberish.


Equines that live in a secluded region of Equestria and have forcibly taken a vow of silence following an incident that led to the accidental destruction of their village. Their home region is also the home of the Nirik, fiery creatures of malice. However, the legends have obscured that the Kirin are the Nirik, and transform when they get angry. They are led by Rain Shine.

  • Back for the Finale: Pretty much all the Kirin show up in the Grand Finale to aid in the Final Battle. In fact, some of them are attending the School of Friendship in the Distant Finale.
  • Burning with Anger: It's a racial trait: when enraged, they burst into flames.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Much like the unicorns, their magic comes in specific colors for each individual — Autumn Blaze's is light blue, for instance.
  • Elective Mute: The Kirin are voluntarily mute, with a little help from the magic Stream of Silence.
  • Emotion Suppression: Their vow of silence is magically enforced in a way that also has this effect, to keep them from getting angry and turning into Nirik.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Their names incorporate nature themes and are composed of two separated words; Autumn Blaze, Fern Flare, and Rain Shine are the three known ones.
  • Green Thumb: One Kirin is shown using magic to grow a plant.
  • Kirin: Like many depictions of kirin, they're equine creatures with draconic features and antlers. In this setting, they also transform into fiery creatures called Nirik whenever they get angry.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: They're equines with dragon scales, horns resembling deer antlers, cloven hooves, and leonine manes/tails.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: When Applejack leaves to find a Kirin who can actually talk, Fluttershy is left behind in the village. Some Kirin suddenly get up in her face and just stare at her without expression, making Fluttershy visibly uncomfortable.
  • Quizzical Tilt: While upholding their vow of silence, they are prone to doing this whenever they are asked a question that isn't yes-or-no.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: As Nirik, their bodies turn pitch black and they emit angry flames that are predominantly red hues.
  • Scary Teeth: As Nirik, they develop jagged teeth and long fangs.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Kirin — Nirik.
  • Secondary Sexual Characteristics: According to Word of God, the only way to tell male and female kirin apart is that females have eyelashes.
  • The Stoic: The Kirin become this due to magically suppressing their emotions.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: When the Kirin are angry, they turn into Nirik, creatures made of fire. The last time they changed, they accidentally destroyed their home. They eventually learned that they can still control themselves in this form though and use it for good.
  • Technicolor Fire: Their flames as Nirik are red, purple, and blue.
  • Telekinesis: Like Unicorns, they are capable of this kind of magic. However, instead of having their entire horns surrounded by a glowing aura, only the chevrons on their horns glow.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The way to tell females apart from males is that females have long eyelashes, and males don't. Otherwise, they all have the body types of female ponies. According to Word of God, this came about due to time constraints that didn't allow them to give male and female Kirin more distinctions in body type.
  • Tree Top Town: A partial example — although a lot of their homes are built at ground level, a significant portion of their village consists of treehouses built high up in the trees of their forest and connected to each other by rope bridges.
  • Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: Pony historians believed that the Kirin and Nirik were actually separate species, rather than one-and-the-same.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: When the Kirin see Applejack and Fluttershy arguing in their village, they levitate the two of them and try to dunk them into the Stream of Silence (feeling it is the best way to stop the argument), only being stopped when Autumn Blaze arrives as a Nirik to save them.

Animal races

    Fruit Bats

Colorful, batlike creatures with a taste for fruit. A colony of fruit bats roosts in the Apple Family's west orchard, while some others are among the creatures in Flutttershy's animal sanctuary.

  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Even by the setting's standards, these things are extremely colorful — they come in the entire color spectrum, something put to notable visual effect when Applejack stirs them up and a literal rainbow of bats flies over the Apple family's heads.
  • The Cameo: A few fruit bats appear among the animals in Doctor Fauna's office in "Putting Your Hoof Down", and are later seen roosting in the trees in the finished animal sanctuary.
  • Fantastic Vermin: They infest fruit orchards much like real-life fruit bats do. A colony nesting in one of the Apple family's fruit orchards has made it inaccessible for use.
  • Killer Rabbit: They're tiny, colorful and cute, but can be extremely destructive when riled up or hungry — a large swarm manages to collapse a barn just by flying through it, for instance.
  • Palette Swap: They're a particularly extreme example of this. Only the red ones are given detailed models, while all other bats are just outlines filled in with all the colors of the rainbow.
  • Planimal: They blur the line between animated plants and plant-like animals — they look and act like animals, but have leaves instead of ears and bodies that appear to be entire fruits.
  • Pun-Based Creature: They're fruit bats both in the sense of being bats that eat fruit, like the real-life animal of the same name, and bats that are made out of fruit.
  • The Swarm: They move in large, cohesive swarms capable of obscuring most of the sky when they pass overhead.


Eagle-like birds with red, orange and yellow plumage, phoenixes are most notable for their ability to be reborn from their own ashes.

  • A Kind of One: In Greek mythology, the phoenix was a singular, eternal entity. In the show, phoenixes are an entire species of birds capable of resurrection.
  • The Phoenix: A direct interpretation of the mythological firebird. They periodically age into a wasted, sickly and fairly pathetic state, before being consumed by flame and bursting back into life from their own ashes.
  • Playing with Fire: Phoenixes occasionally display the ability to manipulate fire and light, as demonstrated by the phoenix parents in "Dragon Quest" when defending their nest from the teenage dragons.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Like the phoenix of myth, they are reborn from their own ashes after they die. Rather than being born again as chicks, though, they immediately reincarnate into fully formed adults.
  • Wreathed in Flames: Phoenixes are capable of shrouding themselves in fire while flying.