A symbiotic lifeform is an organism which closely shares its existence with another species, usually for mutual benefit. A symbiotic lifeform may even merge with its host or symbiont.
Symbiotic lifeforms include:
- An unnamed host organism which managed to gain access to the NX-class starship Enterprise in 2152. (ENT: "Vox Sola")
- The magnetic organism found aboard the Insectoid pod ship in orbit of Questar M-17. (TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star")
- A species of orchid that, in 2372, was encountered by the crew of the USS Voyager. The orchid used its lysosomal enzymes to merge itself during transport at the microcellular level with LieutenantTuvok and Neelix, to create Tuvix. (VOY: "Tuvix")
Actualizing the symbiotic lifeform in "Vox Sola" turned out to be a difficult challenge. The episode's director, Roxann Dawson, later recounted, "You go, 'How do we do something like this?' To have to create that was an extraordinary job, and it required all of the departments coming together to work." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 143, p. 33)
This symbiotic lifeform was built as a CGI model by John Teska at Foundation Imaging. Effects supervisor Elizabeth Castro recalled, "They did it practically on the set, and they also wanted it to have these CG tendrils reach out and pull people up and out of the frame; they wanted to see the tendrils flicking around. To enhance it they had a lot of goo, which they painted all over the practical model right before they would roll so that you would see bits dripping on the actors. That helped us to match the CG." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 7, p. 55)
The sounds of this symbiotic lifeform vocalizing had to be hurriedly created by sound editor James Wolvington, who explained, "Because the creature was all digitally animated, it meant that – relative to my deadline in the production process – I [learned] what this creature actually looked like very late. So in desperation – I have this bathroom adjacent to my sound studio and a shower stall – I wet my fingers and I kind of squeaked the glass and recorded that, and [digitally] manipulated that into some alien dialogue." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 147, p. 32)