Created By: ScoutsGirlfriend on September 17, 2012 Last Edited By: ScoutsGirlfriend on October 22, 2012
Troped

Viewer Species Confusion

When the audience mistakes a character's species for a different one.

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Trope
Similar to how Viewer Gender Confusion is the audience thinking the character is of the opposite gender (or isn't sure what gender they are in general), Viewer Species Confusion is when the audience thinks the character is of a different species. Usually it happens when the character has an odd color to them, or if the character barely resembles the species they are.

This is an Audience Reaction. Informed Species if intentional, I Am Not Weasel if in-universe.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Sarah in the Sonic The Hedgehog OVA is actually a cat girl, but since the American edit removed all scenes depicting her cat ears, American viewers often mistook her for a monkey.
  • Mokina from XX Xholic is usually thought to be a rabbit, when really he's just a Mokina.
  • Chocolat from Solatorobo looks like and is thought to be a cat, but she's really a dog.

Live-Action TV
  • In The Sarah Jane Adventures, the gang mistakes the Blathereen for Slitheen. Also, there are Vinvocci, which look like the Bannakaffalatta from Doctor Who (the series that this is a spin-off of).
  • Animal from The Muppets. No one has any clue as to what he is.

Newspaper Comics
  • Portnoy in Bloom County. No one knows what he is, but the narrator says he's a groundhog, and Hodge-Podge calls him a "pig".

Video Games
  • Several Sonic the Hedgehog characters are often mistaken for other animals, since most of them don't really resemble the animal they're supposed to be.
  • The seagulls in Metal Gear Solid 2 have been called "pigeons" by some. No, really.
  • Raikou, Suicune, and Entei from Pokémon are often thought of as canines or felines by the fandom, when really they're based on creatures from Chinese/Japanese folklore.
    • Growlithe and Arcanine are supposedly based on dogs, but their stripes make them look like tigers.
  • Talon from Primal Rage is really a Deinonychus, but is often called a velociraptor.

Web Comics
  • Hardware example: Div from Penny Arcade. Newcomers who have not yet read the older strips usually think he is a DVD player, when really he is a Div X player.
    • Also, the wombat symbol is mistaken for a bear by newcomers.

Western Animation
  • Just like with Sonic, several characters of Rocko's Modern Life fall under this trope since a lot of them don't exactly look like the animal they are supposed to be.
  • The Warner Brothers don't have a set species, thus no one has any clue as to what they are.
  • Newcomers to Ren and Stimpy sometimes think Ren the Chihuahua is a rabbit.
  • Pete in the Disney universe is actually a cat, but practically everyone has thought he was a dog. This even carried into Goof Troop.
  • An extremely common example is with The Amazing World of Gumball, most people who see the characters for the first time usually assume they are anthropomorphic gumballs.
  • Colonel K in Danger Mouse is a chinchilla, but due to his mustache and how he appears in scenes where it's hard to judge his size, several people think he's a walrus.
  • Arthur looks like a bear or a monkey rather than an aardvark.
  • According to some sources, Squidward is actually an octopus, but viewers assume he's a squid because he has six tentacles (two for arms, four for legs), and his name, Squidward.
  • Don Karnage from TaleSpin. Is he a wolf? A fox? What is he?
  • Regular Show: Eileen is a mole and Pops is a lollipop, but most people assume that the former is a tailed human, and the latter is a big-headed human.
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • September 17, 2012
    fluffything
    • The Legendary Beasts (Raikou, Entei, and Suicune) from the Pokemon games are often called dogs and/or cats by the fandom. In reality, they're based off of creatures from Chinese/Japanese folklore (Raikou is based off of Raiju, Entei is based off of Fu Dogs/Fu Lions, and Suicune is based off of a Kirin).
    • Talon from Primal Rage is often mistakenly called a "Velociraptor". He's a Deinonychus.
    • In-Universe example. In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, a Running Gag in the episode "May The Best Pet Win" involves Rainbow Dash calling Tank a "turtle" when he's actually a "tortoise".
  • September 17, 2012
    StarValkyrie
  • September 17, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Fluffything: Heh, I never knew the Legendary Beasts were based on folklore creatures. You learn something new every day.

    (P.S. The My Little Pony example should go under I Am Not Weasel. The trope description says "See also I Am Not Weasel, when it happens in-universe")
  • September 17, 2012
    abk0100
    Doves are pigeons. The words are basically interchangeable. The bird most people think of when you say "pigeon" is the Rock Dove.
  • September 17, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Oh. I never knew that. Heh. Okay, I'll remove that example then.
  • September 17, 2012
    DaibhidC
    • Colonel K in Danger Mouse is a chinchilla. The moustache, and the fact he usually only appears on a screen so you can't judge his scale relative to the other characters, leads many people to think he's a walrus.
  • September 17, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    This is an Audience Reaction (or Informed Species if intentional, I Am Not Weasel if in-universe).
  • September 21, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Okay, I think everything here looks good. Now let's see if this trope gets accepted.
  • September 21, 2012
    Dacilriel
    Animaniacs: No one seems to be sure exactly what Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are supposed to be.
  • September 24, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Originally I wasn't going to include the Warner Brothers because they don't have a stated species, but I guess I'll include them anyway.
  • September 26, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Bump
  • October 2, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Bumping again
  • October 2, 2012
    owlwarrorforaslan5
    Arthur from [[Western Animation/Arthur Arthur]] looks more like a bear or monkey or something than an aardvark, which is what he supposedly is.
  • October 2, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Another pokemon example: Growlithe and Arcanine are based on dogs, apparently, not tigers.
  • October 2, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    On TV: in The Sarah Jane Adventures, the gang mistakes Blathereen for Slitheen, Groske for Graske etc. (just how many of these are there?)- and these are crucial to the plot.

    Also in The Sarah Jane Adventures there are Vinvocci, which look like a tall green version of Bannakaffalatta from Doctor Who (from which the SJA derives) so viewers would mistake them.

    Of course, all these mistaken examples are cousins of some sort. Even, I think, the Mox of Balhoon and the Abzorbaloff (Doctor Who).
  • October 3, 2012
    Duncan
    There was some viewer confusion as to just what Portnoy was in Bloom County. A series of strips were dedicated to him being "outed" by the narrator as a hedgehog and his rabbit friend Hodge-Podge refusing to work with a pig.
  • October 3, 2012
    HyperTurbina
    Chowder from {Chowder}? I don't know if his species has been canonically stated.
  • October 3, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I think squidward from spongebob is actually supposed to be an octopus, but they couldn't think of an octopus name
  • October 3, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Captainsandwich: Really?

    HyperTurbina: I remember reading a creator confirmation that he's some sort of cat/bear hybrid.
  • October 8, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Hump-de-bump, you got it, hump-de-bump, you got...
  • October 8, 2012
    Delphi
    "Ambigous Species" might be a better title.

  • October 8, 2012
    Delphi
    ^^^^^^ Groundhog, not hedgehog.
  • October 8, 2012
    Delphi
    The Arthur example actually gets a nod in one episode of the TV series, where neanderthal aardvarks actually do look like real aardvarks.
  • October 9, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Would Animal of The Muppets count? Viewers have wondered what he is for years.
  • October 9, 2012
    Chabal2
    Solatorobo: Chocolat has a short nose, pointy ears and a frequent Cat Smile... Despite this, she's actually a dog.
  • October 11, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    fulltimeD: Yeah, he would count.
  • October 15, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Bumping yet again
  • October 15, 2012
    cabr321
    • Eileen in Regular Show is a mole, and Pops is a lollipop. Most assume that the former is a girl with a tail and the latter is a big-headed human.
  • October 16, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Speaking of which, I've never seen Regular Show. I would like to see it, but I'm busy watching other TV shows at the moment, so I might not get around to it for a while.
  • October 19, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Bump. Trying to get this trope accepted.
  • October 22, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Bump, bump-bump-bump BUMMMMMMP!!!
  • October 22, 2012
    Chabal2
    You have five hats, add the examples and Just Launch It Already.
  • October 22, 2012
    ScoutsGirlfriend
    Thank you! Going to make the page now.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=jjdozf1ptwgdro39nym8by2n&trope=ViewerSpeciesConfusion