From Memory Alpha, the free Star Trek reference.
Tribbles (Polygeminus grex) are small, non-intelligent lifeforms originating from Iota Geminorum IV. Known for their prodigious reproductive rate, these round, furry creatures emit cooing sounds while touched, which have a tranquilizing effect on the Human nervous system. Born pregnant, with sufficient food a single tribble can quickly increase its number exponentially through presumably asexual reproduction, bearing an average litter of ten every twelve hours. On their homeworld, tribble populations are kept in check by a large number of reptilian predators.
Tribbles were first encountered by Humans in the early 2150s, when Denobulan doctor Phlox brought a small number aboard Enterprise NX-01 as food for his pets. (ENT: "The Breach")
The tribble was later encountered by the Federation aboard Deep Space K-7 in 2268, when Cyrano Jones brought a small number aboard to trade. However, a single tribble brought aboard the USS Enterprise quickly multiplied to 1,771,561. The tribbles were instrumental in foiling a Klingon plan to poison a shipment of quadrotriticale intended for Sherman's Planet, when tribbles that had fed on the grain were found dead. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles")
At the same time, the crew of USS Defiant, transported through time by Arne Darvin, prevented him from using a tricobalt device hidden inside a tribble to kill James T. Kirk. (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")
Tribbles were an ecological menace for the Klingons, to whom a tribble would react violently. The Klingons first attempted to breed a predator to eliminate the threat. The glommer was used only once, in 2269, aboard the USS Enterprise, and proved unable to deal with the large number of tribbles aboard. (TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles")
The Klingons' final solution to the tribble menace was to wipe the species out entirely. Klingon warriors were sent to hunt them down throughout the galaxy, and the tribble homeworld was obliterated in the late 23rd century. When told of this, Odo dryly remarked "Another glorious chapter in Klingon history. Tell me, do they still sing songs of the Great Tribble Hunt?"
The tribbles may not have been completely wiped out by the Klingons, as several children aboard the USS Enterprise-D appeared to have them as pets in 2364 and 2371. (Star Trek Generations)
Information about tribbles was displayed by the computer in Keiko O'Brien's schoolroom on Deep Space 9 in 2369. (DS9: "A Man Alone", "The Nagus") Tribbles were displayed in an LCARS graphic in one of the USS Enterprise-D's science laboratories when the ship crash-landed on Veridian III in 2371. (Star Trek Generations)
Like the graphic seen in Deep Space 9's schoolroom, this image was taken from the Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual.
Tribbles were reintroduced into the 24th century when Captain Benjamin Sisko and his crew brought at least one of the creatures back to 2373 after a time-traveling visit to the tribble-infested space station K-7 of 2268. The promenade and Quark's bar on Deep Space 9 were subsequently overrun with the creatures. According to Captain Sisko, the Federation's Department of Temporal Investigations was not told about the reintroduction of the tribbles because "they didn't ask". (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")
Miles O'Brien recalled seeing the tribbles on the Enterprise with Julian Bashir when he was leaving Deep Space 9 at the end of the Dominion War. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")
It was never explained on screen how the tribble infestation was removed from Deep Space 9.
Tribbles are made from a piece of "figure-eight shaped" fake fur, sewn up to make a ball about five inches in diameter. The ball is filled with foam rubber.
Tribbles have appeared in popular television several times over the years. One notable appearance was on Jeopardy! , where they increased in number as the episode ran.
The homeworld and scientific name of the tribbles appeared on the chart in Keiko O'Brien's schoolroom on Deep Space 9. (DS9: "The Nagus")
In the audio commentary for "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth", David Wise mentions that Kukulkan's zoo was to have tribbles.
In the audio commentary for "More Tribbles, More Troubles", David Gerrold explains that the idea for tribbles came from the fuzz-ball keychain of a college girlfriend of his, named Holly Sherman, for whom Sherman's Planet is named. He also mentions that Wah Chang hired a woman to make 500 tribbles for "The Trouble with Tribbles", and explains the procedure for making them.
In the DVD commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda for "The Trouble with Tribbles", it is revealed that the moving tribble seen on the bridge of the Enterprise was really a tribble body sewn around a toy dog.
Two tribble fur balls were sold together as Lot #776 in the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection for US$4,800. The lot had been estimated to bring in only between 800 and 1,200 dollars. These tribbles were made for the Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations".
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