I love nature and biology, but sometimes Pokémon just seems more appealing. Species are well defined and nobody doubts the reality of evolution, even if the definition of the word is drastically different to how we understand it. In the Pokéworld, one single creature can evolve into another species (sub-species?) just by fighting other beasties and growing stronger, rather than the slow changes of natural selection.
Most Pokémon are based on IRL creatures and plants. Some are famous and obvious, like Squirtle (turtle) and Caterpie (caterpillar). Some are pretty niche, like Alomamola, which is an adapted form of the massive and bonkers sunfish.
Anyway, with Pokemon X and Y coming out later this year, I’ve got a selection of real organisms that Game Freak would be foolish not to make into Pokémon, because they’re most of the way there already! I’ve made some fairly horrible attempt at assigning Poké-names, please feel free to offer alternatives!
Blue Dragon / Sea Swallow / Blue Ocean Slug
Latin Name: Glaucus atlanticus — Poké-name suggestion: NudiBloo
I fell in love with this thing the second I saw it on the IFLS Facebook page. It’s just the right mix of adorable and slightly creepy – being a mollusc, it has a distinct lack of face.
Growing up to 3cm long, this fierce little nudibranch chooses to eat deadly Portuguese Man o’ War, which already makes it a lot braver than I am. It also loves to chow down on simple organisms called blue buttons and by-the-wind sailors.
The Blue Dragon floats upside-down just below the surface of the sea, and threats can come from above or below. The blue “top” you can see is actually its belly, which camouflages it against predators looking down into the dark water. The white “underside” makes it virtually invisible to undersea predators looking up against the light sky.
I think it would an adorable little faceless Water / Dragon type. … and then I found this:
Oh Internet, you never fail to take things to the next level. Next up… sexy blobfish?
Latin name: Notoryctidae typhlops / caurinus (depending on Southern or Northern species) — Poké-name suggestion: Burriel
While we’re on the subject of the things where the presence of eyes is ambiguous… meet the marsupial mole from Australia.
The only eyes the marsupial moles have are tiny non-functional lenses under the fur. Also hidden away are the ears, which are small holes buried beneath the coat. The cone shaped head is well adapted for boring through soil.
Being marsupial, mothers pouches which keep the babies safe until they can fend for themselves. In the marsupial mole, these pouches are rear-facing so the babies don’t get faces full of soil every time she decides to go underground.
The name I’ve given is a combination of burrow (self-evident), burrito (it’s long round body shape) and L’Oreal (look at that luscious fur – this animal is worth it!). The claws make it look like an ugly cousin in Sandslash, so perhaps it could be an alternate evolution of Sandshrew?
King of Saxony Bird of Paradise
Latin name: Pteridophora alberti — Poké-name suggestion: Plumbra
This is the King of Saxony bird of paradise from New Guinea, named after Albert of Saxony. I was going to do some research on the man, but Wikpedia informs me that “his reign as king was largely uneventful”, which put me off a bit. Moving on…
As you might expect of a bird-of-paradise, the male has a very special courtship routine. He’ll choose a springy branch and make it bounce around (video) adorably while emitting a metallic chatter, erecting his black feathers into a little cape and showing off his 50cm-long saw-tooth plume.
Even if they are removed from the bird, these blue plumes are still desirable trinkets. The Archibold’s Bowerbird will put a lot of effort into acquiring them to make little courtship houses, only to be nicked by native people of Guinea who put them through their noses.
I thought Albert here would make a good Dark / Flying type – but even with horns and a cape, it seems a bit too cute to compete with Murkrow, especially with the yellow belly and beady little eyes.
I’m happy to take suggestions for animals that should be Pokémon – I’m already planning a Part 2 so get in touch =)