Tribble

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Tribbles are fictional animals (which are neither male nor female) in the Star Trek universe who first appeared in the episode titled "The Trouble With Tribbles". They are depicted as small, soft, and gentle, and as producing a soothing purring sound. These traits are said to endear them to most sentient races which encounter them, with the notable exception of Klingons, who consider tribbles to be "mortal enemies" of the Klingon Empire, as stated in the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations".

While appearing in only four episodes and briefly in three of the Star Trek movies, they are one of the most popular and well-known species featured in the Star Trek universe, fairly well known even to casual followers of the series. In 2006, two tribble props from "Trials and Tribble-ations" were auctioned for US $800 – 1,200.[1]

The expression "multiplying like tribbles" has also become commonplace in the context of science fiction or technology.[2]

A family of proteins which have a variety of roles, including involvement in the control of the cell cycle in the fruit fly, was named after these fictional animals.[3][4]

Contents

Physiology

According to Star Trek canon, tribbles are native to the planet Iota Geminorum IV. They are essentially small bundles of fur with no visible external features. The fur of live-action and animated tribbles ranges from solid white to grey, speckled light to dark brown, yellow to reddish orange, and black. According to Leonard McCoy's dialogue their only two purposes in life appear to be to eat and to reproduce, and they perform both of these functions exceptionally well. McCoy concludes that tribbles use over fifty percent of their metabolism for reproduction and that they are born pregnant. A creature that was genetically engineered to hunt tribbles is introduced in the animated episode "More Tribbles, More Troubles".

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