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Certainly there are cases, but I'm excluding cases where the alien's features (mostly skin color) match those of the actor.

And of course there are these guys from Cheron in the TOS episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" where it's the central plot point:

enter image description here

But are there other cases where an alien race was designed arbitrarily to just happen to have divergent ethnicities? For example, some aliens are green, and others are blue, and it's not part of the plot?

Clarification: "Not part of the plot" doesn't mean it can't be mentioned. It just means the shouldn't be a case where the difference exists as the central theme or plot-driving element, such as "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" where the whole point of the episode is to comment on racism -- so of course they had to create a species with races for that.

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    @N_Soong: huh? There are white and black and Asian Vulcans (even though they don't have Asia) but those fit into the first category. – ThePopMachine Sep 11 '15 at 6:13
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    What does "truly alien" mean here? Do you mean alien species with a lot of makeup and/or facial prosthetics? – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 6:13
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    @Praxis: I'm basically trying to rule out cases where the variations in the ethnicities of the actors are just bleeding through into the aliens' appearances. – ThePopMachine Sep 11 '15 at 6:16
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    Oh wait - now I get the question - Star Trek alien races which have sub-races within the species: gotcha! – Often Right Sep 11 '15 at 6:17
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    How do you know it's an @ThePopMachine question? By counting the number of comments. ;-) – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 15:14
27

Caitians

enter image description here

A Caitian Federation Council Representative (Star Trek IV)

enter image description here

A Caitian Admiral (Star Trek IV)

Disputable:

Tiburonians

enter image description here

Crewman T'Lor, a male Tiburonian (2373)

enter image description here

Dr. Sevrin, a male Tiburonian (2269)

Tellarites

Enterprise version

Enterprise version

enter image description here

TOS Tellarite.

As you can see, the two look quite a bit different - perhaps different races?

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    +1...but I think this would be like saying that Klingons from TOS are a different race from film era and TNG era Klingons. The makeup simply improved. In the case of Klingons they decided to do a retcon explanation. In the case of Tellarites (and Trills below), there was no in-universe explanation given for the changes in makeup. – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 6:22
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    @N_Soong deserves another vote for Catians! – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 6:37
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    @N_Soong : I like the Catian (or Caitian) example because the makeup work is from the same period. The Tiburonians probably fall into the Klingon / Tellarite / Trill retconning... – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 6:47
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    I'm not sure whether "looks different to us" necessarily indicates "the aliens species consists of multiple races". I'm imagining some alien showing pictures of a black-haired and a blonde-haired human and saying, "these look different, so they are of different races" when in point of fact the examples chosen are full siblings :-) Not that race in humans is a precisely-defined concept in biological terms, but for starters the differing traits need to be observably associated with separate lines of inheritance. – Steve Jessop Sep 11 '15 at 9:22
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    It could well be that the obvious phenotypic distinctions in alien species are not that obvious to us (as it is said e.g. for westerners vs. asians (both ways) that "the others" all look alike while "our folks" are clearly distinguishable; I'm not sure how true that is though). So a Tellarite might say about what we consider his twin brother on first sight: "Don't you see the earlobe-shapes? He's clearly from that other continent .." - And another species asked about the differences between Uhura, Zulu and Kirk might say "Hm, I don't know. Are you trying to fool me and one of them is male?" – Hagen von Eitzen Sep 12 '15 at 13:13
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The two guys on the right.

enter image description here

This is from Star Trek VI.

I have no idea what species they are, but (a) they are truly alien, (b) their differences do not have to do with the skin colour of the actors, (c) their differences do not have to do with make-up retconning, and (d) their differences are not a plot point.

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    I'm literally lying in bed cracking up over the fact your answer is the two guys on the right – ThePopMachine Sep 11 '15 at 6:56
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    @ThePopMachine : My job here is done. ;-) – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 6:58
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    Apart from their height and markings on the forehead (either of which might be related to the ages of individuals in a single 'race'), what's the difference between them? In fact, now I think about it, the markings might simply be tattoos or cosmetic 'war paint'.. – Andrew Thompson Sep 11 '15 at 7:57
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    I was thinking of the forehead markings. Didn't seem like tattoos to me, but who knows? – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 8:10
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    That’s the problem with the question. If differences inside species are not a plot point, they are usually not explained at all, which implies that we simply don’t know whether they make up different races and not, e.g. different genders or just an ordinary variation. Besides that, it’s impossible to conclude from appearance to ethnicity anyway as that requires knowledge about the culture and history (i.e. why does human’s color of skin matter but color of hair or eyes not). If that’s not a plot point, it’s unlikely to ever hear about it. – Holger Sep 11 '15 at 11:28
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The Andorians have a completely separate sub species in the Aenar and, even within the main Andorian species there are vast differences in the hue of blue they show.

Now a lot of it is to do with retconning but many are of the same time period of Trek shows. Quick edit here (differences in skin colour could just be an Andorian tan but, you can see obvious physical differences in the antennae of them also)

Very dark blue Near purple Shran: Bright blue Near grey/washed out blue Between Shran and grey

  • Aren't the differences in human "races" also just kind of a tan? Even if permanent, it is generally pigmentation that is responsible for the different skin appearances. – Soong Sep 11 '15 at 11:31
  • Nope, I added that to clarify, just in case someone jokingly replied "That's just a tan" lol. A white person will tan but return to their base colour after time. A person of only Chinese decent can also tan but their base colour is still different to regular Joe Irish of European only ancestry. Now the reason that I mention the physical traits is that some of our own races have definite physical differences; be it the epicanthic fold or nose/lip differences. – user001 Sep 11 '15 at 11:50
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    @O.R.Mapper : My understanding of the question is that it is not looking for an ethnicity or sub-species that is a plot point. The Aenar were a major plot point... – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 14:53
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    I have no problem expanding the answer to cater to this. A bit of a lead from @ThePopMachine on how stringent he wants to be would be good in this instance – user001 Sep 11 '15 at 15:06
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    Perhaps it is useful to subdivide this into "sub-species" (concrete genetic differences that are medically observable), "ethnicity" (a cultural phenomenon which is very often, but not always, sub-species related), and "nationality" (collective political affiliation which is often, but not always, ethnically based). "Race" is just too hard to discuss, identify, or assign meaning to. Especially since humans in the real world and aliens in the Trek world tend to mix it up a lot (apparently variety will maintain its spot as the greatest aphrodesiac far into the future). – zxq9 Sep 13 '15 at 8:00
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There are many examples.

Vulcans: The Vulcans have large racial diversity. TOS's Spock, VOY's Tuvok, and ENT's T'Pol all appear to be different ethnicity. Furthermore, the Romulans are still biologically similar enough to the main Vulcans to be inter-compatible, but they're distinct enough that certain medical treatments won't work the same, as mentioned in DS9's Inter Arma i'm not typing the rest of that name. If standard medicine has to be double checked for different ethnicities, you have an extremely diverse species. Also, most Romulans are white or slightly tan colored. However, in DS9's "Improbable Cause", we saw a black Romulan woman who worked for the Tal Shiar.

Andorians: The Andorians have a fair amount of diversity, but it seems to be skewed. The most frequent ethnic group we saw was the blue-skinned Andorians, such as Shran. We also saw in TNG's "The Offspring" that green Andorians exist. We saw the Aenar in Enterprise, who are blind, telepathic, and white. This species likely will have a genetic bottleneck, as their population is dropping, and the Aenar are extinct. http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Aenar

Trill: as mentioned by @Mr Lister, though most trill are the spotted kind, there's also a forehead ridged kind.

Bajorans: as mentioned in the memory alpha page, there were dark skinned Bajorans. This was never a plot point. http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Bajoran

Probable Examples: Ocampans: We know that some of the Ocampa left after their world was transformed into a desert. The two groups lost contact shortly thereafter, and were seperated for at least 300 years. At a rate of complete population replacement every 9 years, the two groups have been seperated for well over 30 generations, which would be enough for some genetic distinctness to emerge, especially since the seperatist group was only a few hundred people. The small population would likely have a fair amount of genetic shift, enough for some distinctions to emerge. http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Ocampa

Jem'Hadar: We know that after Sisko mined the aperture of the Bajoran wormhole, the dominion had to start cloning Jem'Hadar locally in the alpha quadrant. These Jem'Hadar were apparently breed with different demands in mind. This may be the only example of deliberate artificial racial diversity. http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Jem_Hadar

Kobali: Probably the most extreme example in terms of variety. This species grows its population by salvaging the dead of other species, modifying the dead to meet their biological specs, and being a race of zombies. The process isn't perfect, and as a result, people retain enough origional DNA to be individually identifiable. As a result, the Kobali have the racial diversity of the variation between several different species. http://en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Kobali

  • Upvoted because I think the Vulcans are a good TV-canon example that other answers have overlooked. However, ethnicity is social/cultural, whereas race is biological. – Lèse majesté Sep 11 '15 at 18:56
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    I think the comment "I'm excluding cases where the alien's features (mostly skin color) match those of the actor" should exclude Vulcans, since the only racial differences we saw were ones that match different ethnicities of the actors that played them. The greenish Andorian from "The Offspring" (which could have been blue, hard to tell in the dim light) was probably just a makeup decision, but it might be retconned as being part Aenar, like the Andorian/Aenar mix seen in Talla. – Hypnosifl Sep 11 '15 at 22:21
  • Excellent point about the Jem'Hadar, and the difference between Alphas & Gammas WAS a plot point in one of the DS9 episodes. I think it was the one where the shuttlecraft got miniaturized and the Defiant was taken over. – Omegacron Sep 12 '15 at 6:30
  • I just amended the list with the Kobali. – Nate Watson Oct 10 '15 at 2:15
  • More romulan diversity was just added. – Nate Watson Nov 15 '15 at 1:14
10

The Breen

The Breen consist of four races, who all come from the planet Breen. We never see their differing appearances on screen because they all wear the same encounter suits:

enter image description here

I picked this example especially because the fact that there are different races of Breen is never a plot point.

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    Links or it didn't happen. – Mr Lister Sep 11 '15 at 6:33
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    Interesting. Kind of a cop out on their part given we specifically never see a Breen. Also, what's the source of the "four races" notion? Do we know whether "races" meant species or ethnicities? – ThePopMachine Sep 11 '15 at 6:34
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    @ThePopMachine : Mostly post-DS9 Beta material, which fleshed out a comment in the episodes about "not being sure that they are all the same species". And so I believe they are different species rather than ethnicities. I posted this mostly for fun, really. :-) – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 6:35
  • Dominion War series of books no? – user001 Sep 11 '15 at 8:32
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    Five races. You forgot "Princess Leia in disguise in Jabba's palace." – dodgethesteamroller Sep 11 '15 at 18:31
8

According to Memory Alpha, Trills qualify.

Most Trills are distinguished by two rows of spots going down each side of their bodies, from forehead to toe. Their skin color could vary.

And it has photos of different specimens...

enter image description here enter image description here

Now while the differences in skin tones in the photos aren't very convincing, they do have different markings on their faces.

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    The appearance of trills was retconned because the actress who played Jadzia Dax looked better with spots than with a forehead piece. – Praxis Sep 11 '15 at 6:16
  • Yes, this is more like the change in appearance of the Klingons (later retcon-explained) or the Cardassian helmet thing. – ThePopMachine Sep 11 '15 at 6:18
  • Hm, so the "Their skin color could vary" in the quote doesn't count? – Mr Lister Sep 11 '15 at 6:26
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    Speaking of the Klingons, the (apocryphal, as always) novel Forged In Fire explains the "original" ridged-forehead un-transportable Trill being caused by the Augment virus. – Plutor Sep 11 '15 at 12:55
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    Ah, Jadzia... The trill so beautiful she caused an entire species to spontaneously evolve spots and change their skull structure. – Lèse majesté Sep 11 '15 at 18:54
2

Yes, the Kazon appear to have races not explained by that of the actors or makeup differences over time.

Michael Jonas' Kazon contact, Lorrum in "Dreadnought" is decided pale in color rather than the usual red.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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