Animals that could (and should!) be Pokémon – Part… 7??
It’s been way too long since I’ve done a Pokémon post! I’m hoping for Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire for Christmas so to keep me from getting over-excited I’ve reminded myself of the awesome diversity of species out there in the real wild, and how some of them really should be Pokémon by now!
This sea-slug had a problem, and the problem was this: it wants to eat algae for the full year in which it lives, but its favourite food algae aren’t found in the winter so it’s in danger of going hungry for those months. There are many possible evolutionary solutions to this issue, but the eastern emerald elysia was having none of it and came up with its own solution.
For the first week after hatching, this sea-slug is small, brown and eats algae. Algae contain organelles called chloroplasts which are responsible for the photosynthesis which allows them to get their energy from the sun (rather than the bodies of other organisms). When we eat plants, the chloroplasts in them get chewed up and destroyed like the rest of it, but not so in this slug.
There’s no doubt about the typing of this one – it’s the perfect Water/Grass combo. It only needs to eat for the first two weeks of its life, filling up on its favourite species of algae.
I don’t know if they’re amenable to this sort of thing, but I’d really like to cuddle a quoll. They look like an adorable cross between a cat, a ferret, a possum and a baby deer. I’m not sure who saw the spots on this particular species and thought “tiger”, but it’s also called the “spotted-tailed quoll” which makes rather more sense.
Quolls are marsupials found only in Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand. They feed on lizards, insects and small mammals. Despite being largely solitary, they have the strange habit of sharing communal areas to use as toilets which presumably serve as ways of gaining information about your neighbours from the smell.
Quoll numbers, particularly in Australia, have been declining. Besides the “usual suspects” of habitat destruction and predation, they have suffered hugely from the cane toad, which was introduced in the 1930s as a natural pest-control but has since bred out of control and ended up outcompeting or poisoning most local wildlife – certainly not a conservation success story for the annals of history.
I think the quoll would make an adorable normal typing, perhaps as one of the obligatory early-game furry friends.
Scientific name: Polypteridae — Poké-name suggestion: Bichin
Most fish have one dorsal fin on their backs, but that’s not good enough for bichir. They have at least 7-18 and each has a bony ridge up the front which makes for a very interesting looking skeleton. Oh, and they still have primitive lungs as a throwback from its ancient evolutionary ancestors, and must come up for air regularly. Their lungs are much simpler than our own but helps them survive in poorly oxygenated waters of the Nile and other African rivers, swamps and estuaries.
I think the bichir would make a good pre-evolution for Relicanth, based on the “living fossil” coelacanth thought to have been extinct for 66 million years until one was found off the coast of South Africa in 1938. Bichir are far smaller than the man-sized coelacanth and in reality are very distantly related, but Pokémon could probably look past that inconvenience and group them together as fish which both show primitive features and indeed remain relatively unchanged over millions of years.
I still can’t quite believe there isn’t a woodpecker Pokémon by now. They’re such animated little birds and many of them are so attractive. This little guy (you can tell from the red cheek-streak) is one of the cutest in my opinion. They are native to Brazil and a few other surrounding countries, feeding off ants and termites amongst the rainforest trees.
The poké-name I’ve given Mopeck references its rather impressive upright Mohawk-style crest. I would love it to be an Electric/Flying type, a woefully under-represented dual typing (although Zapdos admittedly covers it well and remains one of my favourite Pokémon).
As ever, if you come across any animals (or any species) which really look like they could be Pokémon, get in touch! Also if you have ORAS I’d love to hear what you think of it!