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A common characteristic that identified the species was their claw-like hands and stooped posture that gave them the appearance as if they were shorter than other humanoids. They possessed a heavily creased skin and large ears with the species tending to be bald. Some, however, did hold lavender hair present at the top of their forehead. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds) Their grey wrinkled skin rounded ears positioned high on the head, and sharp, claw-like nails. There are two distinct subspecies - one of which is bald and has hands featuring four digits, another which has hair and five digits. (TNG episode: "Birthright")
On the surface, the race tended to portray themselves as a calm and in some cases tended to be quite sociable. However, those that experience with them knew that their kind only had their own interests in mind. This affected the perception of the species which tended to vary on the encounters. Some believed them to be practical and a sensible people whilst others saw them as being cold as well as highly ruthless. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Across the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, they were known as smugglers and information merchants, and were regarded as being devious and untrustworthy. (DS9 novel: Hollow Men) They were not noted for being great builders or thinkers but instead managed to find a way of becoming successful assassins, spies and thieves. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Their own language was known as Urd which few non-Yridians were able to understand. The lack of knowledge of the Yridian language meant that the species tended to use it as their own form of secret code to exchange information amongst themselves. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
The race evolved on the M-class planet of Yrda where their early ancestors adapted as scavengers. In their pre-history, their homeworld was dominated by fearsome predators with the living conditions affecting the Yridians collective consciousness. It was these conditions that were believed to have moved them towards surreptitious activities due to their evolutionary development as it was a core concept of their unconscious minds. When they became a space dwelling race, they engaged in spying, smuggling and other forms of illicit activities within the areas between the Cardassian Union and Romulan Star Empire. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
Prior to the 2360s, the Yridians were believed to be extinct by the Federation. However, that was disproved when Rudolph Ransom, a Starfleet exobiologist, discovered a group of Yridians, and established first contact with them. (VOY novelization: Equinox) Following first contact with the United Federation of Planets, the Yridians gradually moved their operations into the Beta Quadrant. In 2369, Yridian agents working on behalf of the Cardassians were responsible for attacking Richard Galen's starship where they mortally wounded him during the search for his research. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds)
During 2370, it was suspected that they were smuggling weapons to the Maquis in the Demilitarized Zone. (Decipher RPG module: Worlds) In 2376, Androssi Overseer Biron enlisted the services of a Yridian trader to obtain log entries from several Starfleet officers who served aboard the USS da Vinci. (SCE eBook: War Stories, Book 1)