The Zaranites are a sapient, spacefaring humanoid race native to the Milky Way Galaxy. They wear masks that cover their faces and which seem to act as respirators, suggesting that this species may require different atmospheric conditions than Humans.
Some Zaranites have been known to serve Starfleet in the 2270s, suggesting that their homeworld might be a member of the United Federation of Planets.
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
- According to designer Robert Fletcher, the Zaranites need their mask because they breathe fluorine gas. Conversely, in the novel Ex Machina, by Christopher L. Bennett, it is explained that Zaranites actually breathe oxygen, but require trace amounts of fluorine in the air, which plays a role in their metabolism akin to trace minerals in a Human diet. On Zaranai, the fluorine is supplied by microorganisms which metabolize fluorides and release the gas as a waste product.
- In Triangle, by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, Zaranites are portrayed as a race of hunters, whose females possess psychic abilities and are genetically-compatible with Humans.
- In the Star Trek comic strip, Zaranites can live for over 400 years and have two hearts, which normally beat in synchrony. In elderly individuals, however, the left and right hearts may "alternate for occasional periods of rest and repair", according to Dr. McCoy.