Alien Limbs YKTTW Discussion

Alien Limbs
They have limbs, but not as we know them.
(permanent link) added: 2012-02-09 23:24:49 sponsor: dalek955 edited by: Arivne (last reply: 2015-05-09 19:14:45)

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This trope is when a non-human being has an unusual type of limb that does duty as a hand or foot. Or even as other things. Tentacles, prehensile tongues, pseudopods... you name it, somebody's written about it.

For other types of strange appendages, see Artificial Limbs and Combat Tentacles. Subtrope of Bizarre Alien Biology and sister trope to Bizarre Alien Locomotion. May result in Operator Incompatibility for other species.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Elfen Lied the Diclonii look like humans but also possess a number of invisible (to anyone but themselves and the audience) "hands" called "vectors" that can extend for several meters and slice human flesh with ease. They are not exactly aliens but their origins are never quite elaborated upon.

  • The aliens in Battleship have hands that are apparently four opposing fingers. Also their feet appear to be similar to dogs' or cats' feet, in that they appear to walk on their toes.

  • The mulefa in His Dark Materials have a single two-fingered trunk. Since even simple tasks, like tying a knot, require more than one individual, it strengthens the community's bond. They also have legs adapted to use a kind of giant disk-shaped seedpod as wheels.
  • Martians in Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star were mushroom-shaped entities capable of forming tentacle-like pseudopods.
  • The fithp from Footfall have twin elephant trunks that split into four little tentacles each.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novels, the Thranx have 'truhands' at the end of their praying mantis-style forelimbs. They look like four tentacles about five inches long coming out of the end of the limb. Also, their second pair of limbs (out of four) end in pincerlike 'foothands' which can do duty as either kind of limb.
  • Known Space: Puppeteers use their two heads as hands. The heads' lips are made of little fingerlike tentacles. In effect, this means that puppeteers can see and taste with their hands.
  • In David Brin's Uplift series, the g'Keks are a semi-artificial, gene-engineered species that actually have biological wheels.
  • In The Andalite Chronicles the future Visser Three turns up at one point with a pair of semi-sapient aliens with biological wheels instead of legs. Elfangor, the POV character, is dumbfounded.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Malcorians in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "First Contact" had fused phalanges with suction cups. Benzites from the same series had four opposing thumbs- two on each hand. The Traveler also had oddly-shaped hands, possessing fewer and larger fingers than humans.

    Video Games 

  • The wyverns from Dark Wings have two little claws on their wing joints that act as crude hands.
  • Bleen from Vexxarr have six thin tentacles sprouting from just under their heads.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Schlock himself is a carbosilicate amorph. He normally has two hand-shaped pseudopods and moves by sliding along, but in a pinch he can sprout an indefinite number of extra arms, and move by extending a big pseudopod from his underside with enough force to send himself flying several yards.
    • The same strip also has Neophants, elephants whose front feet can uncurl into hands, and Frellenti whose complete lack of arms is made up for by a prehensile tongue.

    Western Animation 
  • Lieutenant Arex, a bridge officer aboard the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Animated Series, has a third arm extending from his breastbone and a third leg between the other two. During "The Eye Of The Beholder," the away team on Lactra 7 is captured by gastropod aliens, which have one elephant-like appendage with three or four tendril fingers. The aliens put the away team in a zoo, because they regard humans as dumb animals.

    Real Life 
  • Single-celled organisms mostly use pseudopods.
  • Elephants' trunks are a good example of a functional "arm" that evolved non-homologously to primates' arms.
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