The Prawns, aliens, outlanders, or non-humans of District 9 are a spacefaring race of sentient beings, with highly advanced technology and spaceship engineering. Their reasons for coming and/or colonizing on Earth are unknown so far. The non-humans are bipedal, several feet taller than humans, and have dark thick shell-like skin as well as a mass of facial tendrils. It is hypothesized that these tendrils are somehow involved in the mastication process, but it has not been proven. These aliens are also very strong. At one point in the movie, a prawn takes hold of an MNU soldier's arms, and places his foot on his chest. He kicks outward, resulting in the soldier's arms being ripped off, as well as sending him flying several yards back. Also a prawn lifts and flips an overweight MNU guard upside down. He then throws the guard several feet through the air causing him to smash into the side of a shack. The name "prawn" is a derogatory term used for the non-humans. It comes from the resemblance their faces bear to that of a prawn's, and is meant to imply that they are bottom feeders, just scavenging about and basically, living off of the waste of everybody else. In District 9, the prawns are greatly oppressed by the MNU Security Force. They have very little rights in District 9, all of which are closely monitored, regulated, and enforced by MNU.
According to David Meng of Weta Workshop, the vast majority of the aliens are worker-class "drones", explaining why they were so lost and ineffectual. Christopher Johnson is one notable exception to this rule. None of this non-human social structure made it into the film; perhaps director Neill Blomkamp is saving it for a future film? Uncomfirmed by director Neill Blomkamp: In his previous film "Alive in Joburg " which inspired District 9, the aliens referred to themselves as Poleepkwa. Interested parties have contacted the director on whether or not this term can be officially applied. Regardless, many fans refer to the race as Poleepkwa rather than the derogatory name "Prawn".
The non-humans have a variety of extremely-powerful energy weapons. The weapons can only be activated by alien DNA, which means that no human can use them (with the sole exception of Wikus). The weapons shown in the film are mostly energy-based, but several clips asdfst one point, Christopher can be seen using that appears to handle like an asault rifle when he and Wikus stormed MNU headquarters. Wikus uses a gun in the Nigerian gang base capable of producing a shockwave blast powerful enough to blast a human through a wall at high speeds. Even a near miss can send someone flying through the air as shown in the film. Another weapon of note is a large alien mech that Wikus piloted near the end of the film. The suit appears to have a number of other alien weapon capabilities integrated into it, along with a magnetic field generator that allows it to catch enemy projectiles and launch them right back at the enemy.
The most well known weapon is the ARC Generator. It fires a huge charge of sadfns and rapid molecular expansion of gas and fluid. In a soft biological or animal target, an ARC gun strike can result in a catastrophic explosion of blood and gore. But even a near miss can cause superficial burns and keep an enemy subdued, and bolmans in District 9 hold the power of lightning in their hands.
Prawns, unlike humans, eat almost all of their food raw. They appear to be primarily carnivorous, as per the large amount of meat dealers in District 9. They also have a very strong liking of cat food, which has an effect on the aliens that is similar to the effect of catnip on cats. In many deals with the local human gangs, Prawns will trade their weapons and technology in exchange for cat food. When purchasing their food, the prawns are more often than not ripped off. Dealers overprice the meats and cat food, making it hard for the non-humans to get food. When buying food is not an option, they will rummage through garbage in search of anything edible. Another unusual eating habit is their enjoyment of rubber. Prawns have been seen fighting over car tires because they enjoy the taste and texture of this material.
Prawns reproduce asexually,meaning each individual possesses both male and female reproductive organs, and are capable of self fertalization. This makes their reproductive capabilities somewhat threatening, and has allowed their population to increase quickly, despite MNU attempts to limit the amount of offspring produced by aborting eggs and licensing young.
Once an egg has been laid, it will be connected to a food source (such as a dead cow or pig) via tubes, and in this way the developing Prawn will be nourished. Parents can be extremely protective of their eggs, and MNU officers avoid aborting while the parent is present to prevent violent confrontation. It is worth noting that the presence of inter-species prostitution within District 9 indicates that Prawns are capable of intercourse (as are most hermaphroditic species of Earth, ie. snails), and may have some reproductive structures similar to humans.
Prawns are bipedal sentient beings with a structure that bears a strong resemblance to arthropods. They have exoskeletons and a more insect-like build, possessing clawed mandibles, antennae, and segmented exoskeleton plating which MNU officers need armor penatrating rounds to crack the exoskeleton. Usually, non-humans are dark, earth-toned colors. However, some of them have bright red, yellow, or blue striped patterns across their bodies. They also possess another pair of arms which resides around the abdominal area, but the use for them is currently unknown and has yet to be seen.