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Irken Physiology

an Irken Smeet

Smeet Zim

The Irkens are grown in tubes and when they're ready they're harvested by a cold, unfeeling robotic arm. Baby Irkens are referred to as Smeet, and as soon as they are 'born' they are immediately fitted with a Pak and awakened with a brief electric shock and greeted with a recording saying "Welcome to life, Irken child. Report for duty."

Each Irken will bear their Pak throughout their entire life. Certain aspects of that Irken's personality are in fact encoded into the Pak as is that Irken's assigned role within society. (the Irken Control Brain is ultimately responsible for assigning Irkens to their roles).


The Irken race does seem to have two sexes, but the differences between the sexes are minimal. You can recognize female Irkens by their higher voices, curier antennae and sometimes longer eyelashes.

The differences between the sexes is not really too relevant to their society anymore as we have already seen that Irkens are grown artificially and not borne naturally. In any event, female Irkens are able to perform military tasks up to and including Invader as seen with Tak and Invader Tenn.

Invader Spleen

Irkens are incredibly tough and resilient creatures. They have been known to survive ordeals that would destroy most normal creatures. For example, Invader Skoodge managed to survive being fired out of a cannon on the Massive into the side of planet Blorch and later survived an attack by the meat-thirsty Hogulus.

Irken resilience is mental as well - we saw that when Zim was afflicted with crippling stupidity his Pak was able to revive him and reverse the damage.

Ammunition Skoodge

The Irken's internal organs are very different from those of humans. You can see here from Dib's X-ray scope that the Irkens have bones and soft tissues like humans, but from there the similarities end. The large organ in the center of this picture is known as the Squeedly Spooch and it is believed to be responsible for digestion.

Irken eyes are normally red but some Irkens have purple, green or pink eyes. There is no difference in functionality between the different colors. Irken Invaders are given ocular implants to make their eyesight even better than usual.

Squeedly Spooch

Water reaction

Irkens are uniquely sensitive to some relatively common Earth substances, though. Water and substances made mostly of water (like punch) cause the Irkens intense pain on contact with their skin. Bologna will cause a painful burn on the skin which may scab over and cause scarring.

Actual eating of Earth foods like beans can cause intense allergic reactions such as the one at right. The enlargement of the Irken's head in this case is caused by a green pus-like substance which needs to be pumped out manually.

Bean reaction

I did not like beans...

The Alien Molt Phenomena

Irkens caught off of their home world during the Galactic Equinox undergo a horrible molting process as seen at left. Invaders assigned to foreign planets need to keep close track on planetary alignments so they are able to escape notice during the molt.

Bill the paranormal investigator has a file on the molt affect and although he does not personally believe in the phenomena he states that it reputedly affects all aliens off of their home worlds, so this might not be endemic to only the Irkens.

Almighty Tallest Red

There are many different subtypes of the Irken species, including the Tallest seen here. The Tallest are fairly unique in the Irken world in that they have segmented bodies and are able to hover or fly.

The Irken society is arrayed in such a manner that political power is based on height so the long, narrow, segmented bodies lend these Irkens status and authority.


Almighty Tallest Purple
Other Irken subclasses include workers like the one at right. This worker is noticeably taller and bigger than the military type Irkens. His body is not segmented like the Tallest, though, and despite his larger bulk he is slightly shorter than they are. Sizz-Lorr

Pilots, communicators and officers

The flight crew of the Massive is comprised of these Irkens who are taller than the other Irken military members but shorter than the Tallest. They seem to be of the same class as the Tallest without the extra body segments.

The announcers might or might not be Irkens. They have the same skin tone and eye color as many Irkens, but instead of the regular Irken eyes the announcers have a single centered eye. They are rarely seen in person and are usually seen on floating hover-screens making announcements.

If the announcers ARE Irken we can assume that despite their appearance they are going to be shorter than the Tallest.

Conventia Announcer

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