In Alien Hands

by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

Aliens with Five FingersAliens with Other than Five Fingers


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 frequently modified 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.


Aliens with Five Fingers

Most humanoid aliens have five fingers just like humans.


Some alien species have vacuum cups on their fingertips.

Captain Dathon (Tamarian) in TNG: "Darmok"
Tamarians have something like suckers at the tips of their prolonged thumbs, but not on any of their other fingers that look human.
Kayshon (Tamarian) in LOW: "Kayshon, His Eyes Open"
The makers of Lower Decks paid attention and gave their Tamarian character Kayshon a sucker thumb as well.
Caatati in VOY: "Day of Honor"
The Caatati have suckers on all of their five fingers.
Tash (species unnamed) in VOY: "The Voyager Conspiracy"
We can make out small suckers on the thumbs of Tash's race too.
Dralian in VOY: "Critical Care"
Finally, Dralians have suckers on their thumbs.


Other aliens exhibit openings or pores on the backs of their hands, preferably above the knuckles.

Bartender (species unnamed) in TNG: "Gambit I"
The bartender in the bar where Picard was allegedly shot has such a hand with openings above the knuckles.
Cos (species unnamed) in DS9: "Rivals"
The old Cos exhibits large pores as well.
Botha in VOY: "Persistence of Vision"
Likewise, we can see such a hand make-up on the Botha.
Trajis Lo-Tarik (species unnamed) in VOY: "One"
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.


Many species can be seen with spiky extensions on the backs of their hands. Here are just some examples.

Kressari in DS9: "The Circle"
The Kressari are an example of a race with thorns on their hands.
Lethean in DS9: "Distant Voices"
The Letheans can be seen with such hands in both of their appearances in DS9: "Distant Voices" and "Sword of Kahless".
Nausicaan in ENT: "Canamar"
We can see the Nausicaans with such spiky hands too. Their pattern is different. Only the ENT Nausicaans have these spikes.
Nausicaan in TNG: "Tapestry"
The spikes were not yet part of the Nausicaan make-up in TNG: "Tapestry".
"Dream Species" in VOY: "Waking Moments"
Finally there is the "Dream Species" with yet another variant of spikes.

Varied backs

There is a diversity of other modifications to the back of the hand.

Dopterian in TNG: "Firstborn"
The Dopterians can be seen with oval structures on their hands that look like fingernails - or like thick white blebs.
Flaxian in DS9: "Improbable Cause"
Flaxian hands exhibit streaks of hair, the same as in their beards.
Ambassador Gral (Tellarite) in ENT: "Babel One"
On their appearances in Enterprise, Tellarites have hands with five fingers, split nails and an additional keratin structure looking like a sixth fingernail on the back of their hand. This specialty was not taken into account for the Tellarites in Lower Decks.
Tevrin Krit (Tellarite) in SHO: "The Escape Artist"
The reboot Tellarites in DIS and PIC have five fingers, but they are always seen with gloves.

Long fingers

Some aliens have considerably longer fingers than human beings.

Sarjenka (Dreman) in TNG: "Pen Pals"
The trait of very long fingers can be seen on the Dremans like Sarjenka.
Marayna (species unnamed) in VOY: "Alter Ego"
Marayna's race has very long fingers as well.
Bolian in "Star Trek: First Contact"
One Bolian in "Star Trek: First Contact" has fingers that look unnaturally long. He may be the only Bolian with this trait. The fingers are never clearly visible in the very movie, the picture is a scan from the Fact Files and probably shows a cut scene or a photo made at the set.
Chell (Bolian) in VOY: "Repression"
Other Bolians don't have extraordinarily long fingers.

Other variations

There are some more variations among the aliens with five fingers.

Tellarite delegate in "Star Trek: The Voyage Home"
The Tellarite delegate in "Star Trek: The Voyage Home" is the only one of his race seen with five strangely shaped hairy fingers. TOS Tellarites had only three fingers, whereas most later incarnations could be seem with five smooth fingers.
Zaldan in TNG: Coming of Age"
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.
Mendon (Benzite) in TNG: "A Matter of Honor"
Benzites have two thumbs and three other fingers, as seen in TNG: "Coming of Age" and "A Matter of Honor".
Benzite in LOW: "Second Contact"
Benzites appear in a couple of Lower Decks episodes. We can see the hands in "Second Contact" and in "wej Duj", where they don't have two thumbs, unlike the ones on TNG.
Lauriento masseuse in DS9: "A Man Alone"
A Lauriento masseuse can be seen with hands that are coalesced to a lattice.
Torat (species unnamed) in VOY: "Counterpoint"
Torat's race is without fingernails.
Oros (species unnamed) in DIS: "The Galactic Barrier"
The species of Tarka's friend Oros has unique skin folds that point backwards on the back of the hand.

Fingernail colors

Finally, while their hands look basically human, the fingernails of some alien species have distinct colors.

Ferengi in TNG: "The Last Outpost"
Ferengi fingernails are bluish since their very first appearance TNG: "The Last Outpost".
Marta (Orion) in TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy"
In TOS, Orions have deep green fingernails.
Harrad-Sar (Orion) in ENT: "Bound"
In Star Trek Enterprise, the Orion fingernails are a closer match to the skin color, and only women appear to have dark (but likely painted) nails.
Chell (Bolian) in VOY: "Learning Curve"
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.


Aliens 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 (species unnamed) in DS9: "Q-less"
Kolos's race has six fingers.

Four fingers

We know of one special case where the thumb and the forefinger are coalesced and of one race that has four equally spaced fingers.

Jaglom Shrek (Yridian) in TNG: "Birthright I"
The Yridian thumb is grown together with the forefinger. Hence, they are four-fingered, as seen in TNG: "Birthright I" and DS9: "Business as Usual". There are Yridians with five fingers though.
Bem (Pandronian) in TAS: "Bem"
The Pandronian Bem has just four fingers.

Note that human characters have five fingers in TAS, unlike in other animation styles that often prefer a reduction to four.

Yem (Pandronian) in LOW: "I, Excretus"
The fact that Pandronians have four fingers was taken into account for Lower Decks.

Three fingers

There is a wide variety of three-fingered hands or claws.

"Salt Vampire" from M-113 in TOS: "The Man Trap"
The M-113 creature (the "Salt Vampire") exhibits a multitude of suckers on its three fingers.
Ambassador Gav (Tellarite) in TOS: "Journey to Babel"
Tellarites could be seen with three-fingered hairy claws in TOS.
Jankom Pog (Tellarite) in PRO: "Starstruck"
Later Tellarites (TAS, movies, ENT, DIS, PIC, LOW, PRO) have five fingers. The first three-fingered Tellarite since TOS is Jankom Pog, unlike other "modern" members of his race.
Tellarite in SNW: "A Quality of Mercy"
A three-fingered Tellarite also briefly appears in SNW: "A Quality of Mercy", when he is beamed over from the USS Farragut.
Traveler (species unnamed) in TNG: "Where No One Has Gone Before"
The Traveler from Tau Alpha C possesses just three fingers, also in "Remember Me" and "Journey's End".
Selay in TNG: "Lonely Among Us"
Selay have hands with three claws.
Antican in TNG: "Lonely Among Us"
Anticans possess furry hands with three fingers.
Antedean in TNG: "Manhunt"
Antedeans have three fingers too, with big white fingernails or claws.
Caldonian in TNG: "The Price"
Caldonians have three fingers, which are usually adorned by rings.
Susanna Leijten during transformation in TNG: "Identity Crisis"
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.
Solanogen-based lifeform in TNG: "Schisms"
The Solanogen-based lifeforms exhibit three fingers with long, insect-like claws.
Unnamed reptohumanoid species in VOY: "Parturition"
Reptohumanoids have three fingers with reptilian claws.
Voth in VOY: "Distant Origin"
Furthermore the dinosaur-like Voth have just three fingers.
Gorn in ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly II"
The CGI Gorn in ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly II" was given three fingers or claws.
Gorn in TOS: "Arena"
The Gorn captain in TOS: "Arena" had five fingers, just as the Gorn in Lower Decks that are closely based on the original.
Unnamed species in LOW: "Temporal Edict"
There are two crew members (the male character is named Merp) of an unnamed species on the Cerritos with three fingers.
Arex in TAS: "Mudd's Passion"
Arex, the Edosian on the Enterprise in TAS, does not only have three legs and three arms, but also three fingers on each hand.
Edosian in LOW: "Much Ado About Boimler"
The Edosians who appear on Lower Decks have three fingers, just like Arex.
Bolian in PRO: "Preludes"
A most unusual Bolian appears in PRO: "Preludes". He not only has hair, but he is also the only member of his race ever seen with three fingers.

Two fingers

These races have a thumb, and the other fingers are coalesced to one.

Malcorian in TNG: "First Contact"
The Malcorians possess no more than a separate thumb, while the remaining fingers are all grown together.
Parada in DS9: "Whispers"
Likewise, the Parada have just two fingers.


This race doesn't fit into the other categories.

Vidiian in VOY: "Faces"
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.


See Also

Races with Changing Faces - Tellarites

Races with Changing Faces - Gorn

Races with Changing Faces - Yridians


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