In DS9, the changelings can change their forms to all sorts of fantastic things including changing states of matter, such as to a plasma, which would take a marked increase in energy. Why then, can they get cold, as in S7E06 (Treachery, Faith, and the Great River) where Odo is seen shivering (and somewhat implies he can also die from lack of oxygen, though doesn't actually state it)?

Edit: I suppose I should say, I'm preferably looking for a canon answer if possible. Some mention of the logic one way or the other in the show. But failing that, plausible speculation is acceptable.


3 Answers 3


In DS9:Chimera, we meet Laas, a Changeling who is capable of assuming the form of, and functioning as, a space faring organism. He is seen traveling through the void without the aid of any life support equipment, temperature regulation included.

Why, then, was Odo inconvenienced by the cold in Treachery, Faith, and the Great River? As we see in DS9:Vortex, Odo occasionally reacts in a fashion seemingly contrary to established Changeling physiology. If you discount bad or ignorant writing as the cause and insist upon an in-universe explanation, we are left with this: Odo is a young and very inexperienced shape shifter. He tends to act like a humanoid, to the point of being uncomfortably cold or stunned, because he is in humanoid form, and tends to think of it as the "real" him.


In the episode Chimera we see that the changeling Laas can in fact become fire, which tells me that a more skilled changeling than Odo can produce heat.


I couldn't find anything online either way, but some things can be inferred indicating that Changelings are endothermic.

1) Firstly, they are liquid enzymatic molecular organisms. There are no cells and no mitochondrial "engines" to produce heat.

2) They do not have material inputs (food) to convert into energy.

Therefore they must absorb their energy from the ambient environment.

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