Captain Picard’s Fish Has A Name, And It’s Named After A Real Person

Captain Jean-Luc Picard kept a lionfish on the Enterprise during Star Trek: The Next Generation, named Livingston after the show's producer, David Livingston, though it's never named on the show.

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

With the final season of Star Trek: Picard closing in on us, there’s never been a better time to delve into the minutiae of the character and the shows and movies he’s been in. And there’s perhaps no minutiae more minute than the pet lionfish that Captain Jean-Luc Picard had on the Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Most fans might be familiar with the striped, wide-finned exotic pet, but many probably don’t know that it was named Livingston, which Memory Alpha says was named after Star Trek producer David Livingston. 

You wouldn’t know that bit of trivia from watching the show, even though the fish made regular showings in the series. Rather, the name of Picard’s pet fish was revealed in the Star Trek Encyclopedia, as was the origin of its name.

The real David Livingston was also a regular part of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, having been a producer for 159 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (and the director of two). David Livingston was also a supervising producer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. He also directed 17 episodes of Deep Space Nine28 episodes of Voyager, and 15 episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise

The Livingston that Picard owned (the fish, not the producer) also appeared in the film Star Trek: Generations, aboard the very Enterprise-D that crashed onto the planet Veridian III. While Livingston’s intact tank was seen aboard the crashed ship, sources conflict about whether the fish survived the crash. Writer Ronald D. Moore gave two conflicting stories when answering questions in a late 90s AOL chat (one saying he retired to the Starfleet Pet Retirement Home and another saying Data’s cat Spot ate him), while Star Trek: The Magazine claimed that the fish eventually made its way aboard the Enterprise-E.

Livingston on Star Trek: The Next Generation

Whatever Livingston’s fate, he didn’t appear in any of the films after Star Trek: Generations. While Picard’s fish was apparently on-set for the filming of Star Trek: First Contact, it never appeared onscreen. It also never appeared in Star Trek: Insurrection or Star Trek: Nemesis.

Livingston’s absence from the later movies might have less to do with the fish’s actual fate and more to do with the sensibilities of the cast. While Jean-Luc Picard might have enjoyed having a pet fish aboard the Enterprise, actor Patrick Stewart, who played Picard, certainly did not. He hated the idea of having an animal put on display as a mere decoration, saying that the very idea went against the series’ theme of different species having dignity. 

Despite not liking having a pet fish, Patrick Stewart does like dogs and is a major advocate for pit bulls in particular. It’s for that reason that, in Star Trek: Picard, he had a pet pit bull that was, playfully, named Number One. Unfortunately for animal lovers, Number One was left behind after the first episode of Picard, being left with his housekeepers Laris and Zhaban at the Picard family estate and vineyard.

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