They are notable for being voracious eaters, as well as for their rapid rate of procreation. Observed to "neither toil or spin," they are known for their affectionate nature and the calming nature of their purring. These characteristics, however, are replaced with animosity when in the presence of Klingons. (TOS episode: "The Trouble With Tribbles") This is presumably because the tribble has a keen sense of smell and can distinguish between individuals by scent, leading to the surmise that it also finds food by scent. (ST reference: Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual)
Polygeminus grex has the approximate meaning "that which is many twins, traveling in a herd."
A tribble population was nearly accidentally unleashed on the 21st century Earth by Voula, a time-traveling 27th century Starfleet officer, whose timeship had a tribble infestation aboard. Voula wanted to destroy the creatures with her phaser, but Commander Sean Christopher stopped her, and, with the help of cadets at the newly-formed Starfleet Academy, safely gathered them into a storage container. (ST performance: Star Trek Live)
In the Kelvin timeline, a pet tribble was kept in a cage on the Starfleet base at Delta Vega by either Montgomery Scott or Keenser, as of 2258. The next year, Scott's transwarp beaming of the tribble to his nephew on Earth resulted in an infestation in San Francisco. (TOS movie: Star Trek (2009); TOS comic: "The Truth About Tribbles, Part 1")
In the prime reality, a tribble infestation consumed all the quadro-triticale aboard Deep Space Station K-7, while the USS Enterprise was present at the station, accidentally exposing its infection with a virus that became an inert material in the bloodstream of an organism who consumed any foodstuffs so infected and could cause death by starvation within three days. The tribble infestation spread to the Enterprise, but Montgomery Scott beamed the creatures over to the Klingon ship IKS Gr'oth. (TOS episode: "The Trouble with Tribbles")
The Klingons tried many methods to rid themselves of the tribbles, none fully successful. Hundreds were packed into life pods and ejected from the ship. One such pod went through a micro-wormhole and ended up in the Delta Quadrant, where it was discovered by a Borg cube, which assimilated the surviving tribbles. (TOS short story: "The Trouble with Borg Tribbles")
During mid-2268, the Klingon Defense Force, under the IKS Gr'oth's Captain Koloth, led an eight-month-long campaign against the tribble homeworld, supposedly wiping the creatures out for good. (DS9 episode: "Trials and Tribble-ations"; TOS comic: "The Great Tribble Hunt"; ST reference: Federation: The First 150 Years)
Tribbles and false tribbles lived on the planet Aleph III in the Organian Treaty Area near Klingon Space. Both species were being studied by the researchers at Genetics Research Station 17 before the stations closure in 2269. (FASA RPG - Adventure Book module: Again, Troublesome Tribbles)
- It is not known how the tribbles native to Aleph III found there way there from Iota Geminorum IV or developed the second false tribble variant.
The Enterprise encountered Cyrano Jones, the man who had initially sold them the tribbles, aboard K-7, while escorting some grain to Sherman's Planet. Jones had a stock of genetically-engineered "safe" tribbles. However, these tribbles grew to immense sizes as they consumed food. When hit with phaser blasts, the giant tribbles could break into thousands of normal-sized tribbles. With minor treatment, they could be indeed made "safe" tribbles. (TAS episode: "More Tribbles, More Troubles")
James T. Kirk encountered these animals again, in suspended animation. Other lifeforms were in cryostasis from across the galaxy, on Raga's Planet. Kirk could not discern if the tribbles, gromenghastlies, and creatures he had never before seen were either real, or sequences of telepathy from Singha. (TOS short story: "The Sleeping God")
On reference stardate 2/1412, a seedy Orion man in the Shadow Market of Daros IV had tribbles he claimed were genetically altered to not reproduce. He asked for 100 credits, but could be haggled down to 25. As guaranteed, the tribble was sterile, but died within 24 hours. It was in fact a stuffed fake, equipped with a cheap battery-powered device that made it purr on touch. (FASA RPG module: Orion Ruse)
In 2271, the USS Mundy was boarded by renegade Klingons, who found the cargo of tribbles, and then abandoned or killed the crew. The ship, along with a million tribbles, was then found in 2279.(FASA RPG module: Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update)
Alexandra, daughter of Enterprise-D Crewman Toya, owned a very quiet and still one. Possibly a plush toy, it comically stuck to the back of the captain's uniform. Jean-Luc Picard was none the wiser. (TNG episode: "When the Bough Breaks")
A population of tribbles was introduced to Deep Space 9 after the USS Defiant returned from an accidental time-traveling trip back to the 23rd century, in which they visited Deep Space Station K-7, as well as the USS Enterprise of the time. When the Defiant returned to the present, some tribbles had apparently stowed away, and were then introduced to Deep Space 9. The DS9 crew had difficulty removing the tribbles. (DS9 episode: "Trials and Tribble-ations")
During the cleanup effort on DS9, the senior staff sat around a table at Quark's and discussed their various theories and supposed experiences regarding the origin of tribbles, how the Klingons got their head ridges, and why the Klingons and tribbles hate each other so much. Their speculations included the tribbles being the cause of the ridged-forehead Klingons, among others. (DS9 comic: "Nobody Knows the Tribbles I've Seen")
By 2409, some tribbles had been assimilated into the Borg Collective. However, these tiny drones weren't a threat to members of Starfleet. Therefore, many Starfleet officers continued to use assimilated tribbles as pets. As they were linked into the Borg Collective, they could provide their owners with insight into the actions of the Borg.
- The assimilated tribbles, called Tribble of Borg, can be purchased in the game's C-store.
Exposure to a wide variety of environments and diets meant that, by the 25th century, more than two dozen sub-species of tribble were known to exist, including some that demonstrated no fear of Klingons in their vicinity. (STO video game: Star Trek Online)
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- "The Trouble with Tribbles" (TOS episode)
- "Trials and Tribble-ations" (DS9 episode)
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (TOS film)
- Star Trek (2009)
- "A Bad Day for Koloth" (TOS short story)
- FASA module: Again, Troublesome Tribbles
- "More Tribbles, More Troubles" (TAS episode)
- "The Last Tribble" (TOS short story)
- "Missed" (TOS short story)
- "Tribble in Paradise" (TNG short story)
- "The Trouble with Borg Tribbles" (TOS short story)
- "The Trouble with Tribals" (TOS short story)
- "The Great Tribble Hunt" ((TOS comic book story)
- "Second Chances" (short story in New Worlds, New Civilizations)
- DS9 comic: "Images"
- "Nobody Knows the Tribbles I've Seen" (DS9 comic)
- "The Tribbles' Pagh" (DS9 short story)
- "That Which Must Die" (Starfleet Command Klingon Black Fleet mission #6)
- "Star Trek Online"
- "Star Trek Live" (Live performance set in the present day)
- "The Truth About Tribbles, Part 1 (TOS comic)