In addition, she is skilled in military strategy, martial arts, and Pegasus-galaxy diplomacy, and displays knowledge of and proficiency with Earth technology; she practices a form of stick-fighting (based on Eskrima) with John Sheppard and has taken up use of Earth weapons (such as a P-90) with great facility.
Teyla Emmagan is the leader of the Athosians, a human race of farmers, hunters, and traders from the planet Athos in the Pegasus Galaxy. She is the daughter of Tagan. The Athosians are the first natives of Pegasus whom the Atlantis Expedition encounters on their scouting of potential evacuation sites in "Rising". After a Wraith attack on Athos, Teyla and the Athosians settle in Atlantis. Friction in "Suspicion" causes the Athosians to leave Atlantis and settle on the mainland. Teyla stays with Sheppard's team, but later helps with evacuating the Athosians from the mainland several times in the face of various threats.
In season 1's "The Gift", Teyla and the Atlantis expedition learn that her ancestors were experimented on by a Wraith scientist, and that Teyla is one of the few Athosians who possess trace amounts of Wraith DNA which enable her to sense the Wraith through their telepathic network. Teyla uses this so-called "gift" in many ways throughout the series, both actively and passively, against the Wraith. She flies a Wraith hiveship in season 3's "Misbegotten"), and has immunity from hallucinatory signals sent out by a Wraith device in "Phantoms".
In spite of initial, distrustful attitudes towards her (mostly from military officials), Teyla is left in charge of Atlantis in the absence of the expedition's regular leadership. In the third season episode "The Return", Atlantis is reclaimed by a group of Ancients and the Athosians are asked to leave Lantea, settling on a planet they name New Athos, which is unknown to the Wraith. They remain on the planet after Earth regains control of Atlantis, and the Atlantis Expedition provides them with supplies and weapons. Though Teyla notes that she has often felt like an outsider among the Atlantis Earth crew, the rescue of fellow reconnaissance teammate Ronon Dex convinces her of the team's loyalty to one another.
Season 3's "Sunday" reveals that Teyla has a romantic interest in an unnamed male, who is presumably unaware of her feelings. In season 4, however, Teyla discovers that she is pregnant at the end of "Missing". The child's father is an Athosian named Kanaan. When Teyla is three months pregnant in "Be All My Sins Remember'd", Sheppard suspends her from active duty. In the meantime, the Athosian people have gone missing, and the search for clues to their disappearance proves a season-long arc for Teyla. Michael and his genetic experiments to create Wraith/Human Hybrids are found out to be responsible for the Athosian's disappearance near the end of season 4. At the beginning of season 5, Teyla gives birth to a son, whom she names Torren John after her father and Sheppard. (When fans pointed out that Teyla had introduced herself as "daughter of Tagan" in "Rising", implying her father's name as Tagan, executive producer Joseph Mallozzi suggested that Teyla may have been referring to her mother.)