Many alien looks in Star Trek essentially comprise a forehead
make-up or some spots painted into the face. This is the method of choice under
technical and budgetary production restraints, because
the face is the foremost distinguishing mark among human beings and hence
between humans and alien species as well. But there is one other body part that is
with special alien make-up: the hand. This small article provides an overview
of the variations of hands that could be seen in Star Trek.
Most humanoid aliens have five fingers just like humans.
Suckers Some alien
species have vacuum cups on their fingertips.
The Caatati have suckers on all of their
five fingers (VOY: "Day of Honor").
We can make out small
suckers on the thumbs of Tash's race too (VOY: "The Voyager
Dralians have suckers on their thumbs
(VOY: "Critical Care").
Finally we can see that Tamarians have
something like suckers at the tips of their prolonged thumbs, but not on
any of their other fingers that look human (TNG:
Openings Other aliens exhibit openings or pores on the backs of their hands, preferably
above the knuckles.
The barkeeper in the bar where Picard was
allegedly shot has such a hand with openings above the knuckles (TNG: "Gambit I").
we can see such a hand make-up on the Botha (VOY: "Persistence of
The old Cos exhibits these large pores as well
Furthermore we can see Trajis
Lo-Tarik with such a hand. The make-up may
be exactly the same as of Cos and of the Botha (VOY: "One").
Spikes Many species can be seen with
spiky extensions on the backs of their hands. Here are just some examples.
The Letheans can be seen with such hands in
both of their appearances (DS9: "Distant Voices", "The Sword of
The Kressari are another example of a race
with thorns on their hands (DS9:
We can see the Nausicaans with such spiky
hands too. Their pattern is different (ENT: "Canamar").
Finally there is the "Dream
Species" with yet another variant of spikes (VOY: "Waking Moments").
Varied backs There is a diversity of
other modifications to the back of the hand.
The Dopterians can be seen with oval
structures on their hands that look like fingernails - or like thick
white blebs (TNG:
Krit and Nahsk have hands with scales (DS9:
"Who Mourns for Morn?").
Flaxian hands exhibit streaks of hair, the
same as in their beards (DS9: "Improbable Cause").
Long fingers Some aliens have
considerably longer fingers than human beings.
The trait of very long fingers can be seen on the Dremans like
Sarjenka (TNG: Pen Pals").
Marayna's race has very long fingers as well
(VOY: "Alter Ego").
One Bolian in "Star Trek: First
Contact" has fingers that look unnaturally long. He seems to be the
only Bolian with this trait. The fingers are never clearly visible in
the very movie, the picture on the left is a scan from the Fact Files
and probably shows a cut scene or a photo made at the set ("Star
Trek: First Contact").
Other variations There are some more
variations among the aliens with five fingers.
A Zaldan bumps into Wesley and starts to insult the boy without reason, ostentatiously showing his
webbed fingers. Wesley recognizes that it is a part of his Academy entrance exam. Knowing that Zaldans hate courtesy, he complains
to the man about his bad manners (TNG: Coming of Age").
Benzites have two thumbs and three other
fingers (TNG: "Coming of Age", "A Matter of Honor").
A Lauriento masseuse can be seen with hands
that are coalesced to a lattice (DS9: "A Man Alone").
Torat's race is without fingernails (VOY:
Fingernail colors Finally, while their
hands look basically human, the fingernails of some alien species have
Ferengi fingernails are bluish (TNG:
"The Last Outpost" et al.).
Orions have deep green fingernails (TOS:
"Whom Gods Destroy").
Bolian fingernails are darker in the
crescent-shaped area in which human nails are brighter. Note that on the
picture the blue make-up on the little finger is already partially gone
(VOY: "Learning Curve").
with Other than Five Fingers
Certainly one way to create a distinct alien look is to give a species more
than five fingers or less.
Six fingers Six
fingers per hand seem to be a very rare trait.
Kolos' race has six fingers (DS9:
Four fingers We know of one special case
where the thumb and the forefinger are coalesced.
The Yridian thumb is grown together with the
forefinger. Hence, they are four-fingered (TNG: "Birthright
I", DS9: "Business as Usual"). There are also Yridians
with five fingers though.
There is a variety of three-fingered
hands or claws.
The Traveler from Tau Alpha C possesses just
three fingers (TNG: "Where No One Has Gone Before",
Caldonians have three fingers, which are
usually adorned by rings (TNG: "The Price").
Antedeans have three fingers too, with big white
fingernails or claws (TNG: "Manhunt").
The inhabitants of Tarchannen III have three
fingers (and three toes). It is one of the first steps in the
transformation process into such a creature that the three central
fingers of an affected humanoid grow together (TNG: "Identity
The Solanogen-based lifeforms exhibit three
fingers with long, insect-like claws (TNG: "Schisms").
Reptohumanoids have three fingers with
reptilian claws (VOY: "Parturition").
Furthermore the dinosaur-like Voth have just
three fingers (VOY: "Distant Origin").
creature (the "Salt Vampire") exhibits a multitude of suckers
on its three fingers (TOS: "The Man Trap").
The CGI Gorn in ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" has three fingers. The Gorn captain in
TOS: "Arena", however, had five.
Two fingers These races have a thumb, and
the other fingers are coalesced to one.
The Malcorians possess no more than a
while the remaining fingers are all grown together (TNG: "First
Likewise, the Parada have just two fingers
Anomalies Two races that don't fit into
the other categories.
Vidiian hands are as diverse as the
species from which the disease-ridden Vidiians steal them. The hands
look just as cluttered as the rest of their bodies.
Tellarite hands are inconsistent. They can be seen with three-fingered
claws in TOS and with human-like hands on
their later appearances.