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In the first Men in Black movie, when the Bug kills the two Arquillians we see a needle go into their necks.

But those bodies are artificial and the Arquillian's controls for the body are higher up from where the Bug stabbed them, around where the face is as shown when J opens the front hatch to one of them. Also the Arquillian who is a member of the royal family was still alive until he told J about The Galaxy

What was their cause of death?

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From reading both the MIB novelisation and the movie script, it's not actually that clear why they died. Certainly the bug poisoned their body-suits.

He extruded his stinger, fired it under the table, hit Rosenberg and then the Arquillian each with a jolt of venom. Both of them lurched forward and fell facedown upon the table. He retracted the stinger.

But beyond that, it's not 100% clear why this killed the Arquillians (named as Baltians in the script).

Jay and Laurel look at each other, astonished. Jay pulls again, and Rosenberg's entire face PUSHES OUT with a mechanical HUM, then HINGES OPEN, the whole face rotating out away from the rest of the artificial skull.

A TINY LITTLE GREEN MAN SITS INSIDE ROSENBERG'S HEAD.

Though not quite dead, the Tiny Little Green Man is gravely wounded. He staggers up out of a small control room inside Rosenberg's head, with gearshifts and viewing screens all around the inside of the skull.

Hypothesis

  • Blunt trauma.
    The Arquillian doesn't seem to be strapped in. When his body-suit hit the table, the impact could have caused internal damage.

  • Poisoning
    The poison injected by the Bug could have transferred to the Arquillian.

  • Collapse of life-support.
    With the death of the (organic) suit, if the aliens were relying on that suit to help them breathe, they would have only a limited amount of breathable air remaining.

The fact that opening the headpiece results in the release of some kind of gas under pressure strongly suggests that the latter option is likely to be the right one

  • I thought on screen that they were both stung in the side of the head; I'd just presumed that the bug knew where the cockpits were and hit the pilot. – Radhil Jul 3 '16 at 13:55
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    @Radhil - That was my immediate thought, but you can see the stinger going into the neck, several inches below where the Arquillian is sitting. Unless the stinger bends and extends, it couldn't have hit them, and certainly not with any precision. – Valorum Jul 3 '16 at 14:20
  • I was always assuming the last option myself: that the bug managed to damage the suits badly enough for them to become immobilized and unable to sustain the life of the aliens for long, but not to outright kill them. – Malcolm Jul 3 '16 at 14:51
  • On screen, it's not made clear that the two Arquilian individuals are actually the same species. I always assumed that the Karel Struycken one really looked like that. – Mr Lister Jul 3 '16 at 14:53
  • According to the script notes, they appear to not be the same species. One was Arquillian, the other Baltian. This, however, conflicts with the wording later in the same script so they evidently forgot to change the species name over, or just plain forgot that they were supposed to be different species entirely. – Valorum Jul 3 '16 at 14:56

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