Real-life Species that Should be Pokémon – Part 3

NB: “Background reading” in the form of Part 1 and Part 2

Whenever a new generation of Pokémon games is announced, a corner of the Internet goes crazy with speculation. Game mechanics, multiplayer options and of course the nature of the inevitable new Pokémon are discussed. The four new Pokémon confirmed so far don’t seem to comfortably fit any types currently available, so new ones seem likely. Considering all the “evidence” so far, I’m reasonably convinced that these will be Light and Sound.

With this in mind, my next four species are those which, if they entered the world of Pokémon, would be at least partially Light or Sound types. Here we go…

Common black dragonfish
Scientific name: Idiacanthus altanticus — Poké-name suggestion: Grislux

I was just wondering what a Light/Dark Pokémon might look like when my friend Kit found this horrible beastie. Aside from looking like something Chain Chomp might have a nightmare about, I think it epitomises what would happen if you crossed these types together.

The female black dragonfish - [idiacanthus atlanticus].
The female black dragonfish – [idiacanthus atlanticus]. Lush.
You’d have to use HM08 Dive to catch this one, because it lives 2000m below the ocean surface, using bioluminescence to see and catch prey. The female dragonfish has lights down the side of her body and a glowing red bulb to bring prey right to the death’s door of her mouth. The red light is actually quite unusual because most deep-sea creatures use blue light which travels further in the water. It’s thought this is to expose the prey animals which have evolved to not show up in blue light. The males are only 5cm in length to the female’s 40cm and they lack teeth, chin bulb and even a functional gut. Instead they survive as a parasite of the female, clinging on and providing sperm when needed (at least, if it’s anything like the more-famous anglerfish). The juveniles are arguably weirder, with eyes on long stalks that retreat into the body as it grows.

There are some pretty creepy Pokémon out there but none of them are quite as nightmarish as this. However, just add anime eyes and I’m sure it’ll be finnnneeeee….

There. All better now.
There. All better now. Click for unedited pic

Unlinked sources

Striped tenrec

Scientific name: Hemicenticetes semispinosus — Poké-name suggestion: Erisike


This is a tenrec, native only to Madagascar, making it a pretty safe bet for it being unusual in some way. Madagascar split off from a main landmass (what would become India) and became an isolated island 88 million years ago. Over evolutionary time the animals and plants diverged more and more from those on the mainlands and the result is a spectacular diversity of life seen nowhere else.

Striped tecrec nomming a worm. The special noisy quills are on its back out of sight here.
Striped tecrec nomming a worm. The special noisy quills are on its back out of sight here. [Hemicenticetes semispinosus]
I’ve designated the tenrec a normal/sound type. It’s unique among mammals because it can communicate by stridulation, which is sound produced by rubbing body parts. Many insects like cricks and cicadas are pretty good at this, but the tenrec achieves it by scratching specialised quills against each other. As seen in the video below, this can be very helpful for retrieving lost youngsters. I’ll let David Attenborough explain:

Unlinked source


Jack-o’-lantern mushroom
Scientific name: Omphalotus olearius — Poké-name suggestion: Mycolant

An addition made to more recent games has been Pokémon which take different forms depending on conditions under which they were caught, such as time of day or weather. I like the idea of applying this to a Poké-version of the jack-o’-lantern mushroom, one of the few dozen bioluminescent fungi.

Daytime... [Omphalotus olearius]
Daytime… [Omphalotus olearius]
During the day, it takes on a friendly orange-brown form (apparently they look and smell delicious). However, it will cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea if eaten, so it makes sense to classify them as pure poison. By night, the fungus takes on a more sinister appearance and the glows faintly but ominously as a poison/light type.

I like the idea of them found clustered together like Exeggcute, although I realise it might take more imagination than some of the other suggestions I’ve made, I just couldn’t pass up a glowing mushroom.

...Nighttime! [Omphalotus olearius]
…Nighttime! [Omphalotus olearius]. Click for source
As for the mushroom itself, the bioluminescence is a result of an awesome enzyme called luciferase – yes, as in Lucifer the Fallen Angel / Devil. His name means light-bearer. Luciferase uses ATP (chemical energy for the cell) and oxygen as part of a reaction that produces photons. Many biochemists use luciferase when studying reactions because light is a relatively easy thing to measure, at least when you spend most of your time working with clear colourless solutions!

Unlinked source


Pistol shrimp
Scientific name: Alphedidae species — Poké-name suggestion: Shriboom

If there’s any doubt in your mind, or you simply haven’t thought about it before, let me get this straight – shrimps are badass. 

One of many species of pistol shrimp [Alpheus heterochaelis]
One claw much bigger than the other? For the acquisition of food, of course… [Alpheus heterochaelis]
The pistol shrimp’s typing is easy – water/sound. It is one of the loudest things in the ocean, up to 218dB which is far louder than standing up close to a jet engine.

It achieves this using its signature move which combines the best of Bubblebeam and Crush Claw. By snapping shut a powerful claw at high speed, it creates a cavitation bubble in the water, which can reach 60 mph and reach pressures high enough to KO or even kill nearby prey animals.

Unlinked sources

This post came courtesy of Ian Semmens, who informed me of this instance of shrimp-badassery. Be warned, there is another one coming up another time, which packs more of a punch…

So those are four species I’d love to see made into Pokémon if Light and Sound are to become the new typings. One thing I haven’t come across is something which could be a dual Light / Sound type, but I think that would be awesome. I’m sure there’s something on the planet which would be suitable, it may even be something really obvious! Any ideas?

Em x


3 thoughts on “Real-life Species that Should be Pokémon – Part 3

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