! Mareep Line

!! Morphs [Oak Catalog #]

* Mareep [#179]
* Flaaffy [#180]
* Ampharos [#181]

!! Physical Description

Mareep and its evolutions Flaaffy and Ampharos are a line of ovine Pokémon that undergo remarkable changes as they evolve, sharing only a handful of characteristics between them such as their bioluminescent "tail jewels," a striped body pattern, and a near-constant presence of high amounts of static electricity on their bodies.

The initial form, Mareep, is a quadrupedal creature standing roughly 60 centimeters tall from head to hoof and weighing just under 8 kilograms. Mareep possess a rich coat of golden wool that regrows if shorn that obscures its blue, rubbery, short-haired hide on all regions of its body barring its face and split-hooved legs. Mareep also possesses a tail terminating in a yellow "tail jewel" and cone-like ears with a pattern of wide yellow and black vertical stripes.

The first evolution, Flaaffy, is a biped ovine standing with an average height roughly 20 centimeters taller than its initial form and a typical weight of just over 13 kilograms. Flaaffy's limbs change dramatically with evolution, with two legs with feet possessing single, nailed toes, and two arms terminating in a small set of fused digits giving the impression of a soft, rounded nub. Flaaffy possesses wool over a much smaller region of its body in comparison to its younger counterpart, with only the top and back of its head and a region around its neck and shoulders retaining a coat of white wool. The rest of Flaaffy's body possesses a flesh-colored, short-haired exposed hide of similar consistency to that of a Mareep, and a light blue "tail jewel," with the colored portions of its ear and tail markings now of the same color as the rest of its hide.

The final form, Ampharos, typically stands approximately 140 centimeters in height and weighs slightly over 60 kilograms in weight. Ampharos retains the general bipedal body shape and limb structure of its prior evolution, though gains a number of distinguishing physiological characteristics. The most immediately visible of these is the total absence of wool, instead having the entirety of its body covered by a short-haired, rubbery hide like that of its younger counterparts. Ampharos develop more prominent, elongated necks upon evolution and their ears are positioned at a rough 120-degree angle as opposed to the 180-degree angle of both of its prior forms. Ampharos also develops a white underbelly, a red "jewel" embedded in the center of its forehead, as well as a series of more closely spaced tail markings covering a smaller region of its tail near its red "tail jewel" and a series of black "collars" of similar appearance encircling its neck.

Occasionally, rare mutations affecting the appearance of these creatures surface, causing individuals with the mutant genes to possess purple wool as Mareep, a pale pink hide, faintly yellow wool, and green tail jewel as Flaaffy, and a similarly pink hide and blue head and tail "jewels" as Ampharos. Individuals with these rare colors are highly sought after, and clothing made of their wool is known to command a hefty premium among the fashion-conscious.

!! Notable Biology

One of the defining features of the creatures of the Mareep line is its capability to store massive amounts of static electricity on its body, which helps to deter potential predators and enemies. The effects of this static electricity are readily visible on Mareep and Flaaffy, whose wool visibly expands in volume as greater quantities of static electricity build up on its body. Strangely enough, the as the abilities of these creatures to retain their static charge improves with evolution, their body becomes progressively less covered by wool.

All members of this line also possess bioluminescent "tail jewels" which glow increasingly bright as greater quantities of static electricity build up on these creatures' bodies. These "tail jewels," especially those of the latter stages of this line, have been known to produce flashes of truly stunning degrees of brightness, with large flocks of creatures in the Mareep line occasionally being visible from space. An Ampharos' "tail jewel" is often capable of producing brief flashes with a brightness comparable to an industrial-grade floodlight, with some individuals being employed on rare occasions to serve as living lighthouses, one of the most notable examples being "Amphy", the personal Ampharos of Olivine City Gym Leader Jasmine.

Both wild and domesticated flocks of Mareep and to a lesser extent, its evolutions, display flocking patterns, with Mareep and its evolutions displaying an affinity to being in close proximity to other individuals when three or more other individuals are present nearby. Among Mareep, a large, broader group often emulates the actions of a small number of particularly strong individuals (usually rams). When faced with a potential threat, members of the Mareep line gather ''en masse'' for safety and attack aggressors in unison in an attempt to drive away potential sources of danger. Although remarkably efficient if executed correctly, this flocking mechanism is occasionally subverted through the use of dispersion-based techniques such as the attack Whirl[[color:green:wind]], which leaves individuals who are separated from the group vulnerable to being picked off. Members of the Mareep line are also fairly easily manipulated by food or objects with a strong electrical charge, and a large group of Mareep can easily be led (by experienced handlers) for long distances by luring its leaders with a suitably large portion of food or an object bearing a significant electrical charge.

!! Habitat

Wild members of the Mareep line typically live in plains with large amounts of grazing area. Populations of wild Mareep have been recorded in a small number of areas in Johto, with small but stable populations known to exist to the east of Floaroma Town in Sinnoh and an introduced population near the immediate vicinity of the Hoenn Safari Zone. Stable populations of wild Flaaffy are not presently known to exist anywhere outside of the Route 42 / Route 43 corridor in Johto and Route 222 in Sinnoh, and there are no known stable populations of Ampharos.

!! Diet

Mareep and its elder brethren possess a near-exclusively herbivorous diet, with consumption of meat unheard of outside of severely emaciated individuals both in captivity and in the wild. The diet of these creatures is typically composed of a mixture of assorted grasses, forbs, legumes, and some berries. Although Mareep and its evolutions will often blindly consume anything presented to it vaguely resembling plant matter, this can lead to individuals becoming violently ill due to consumption of toxic plant matter. Although such plants include the normal suspect list of poisonous plants, it should be noted that Apricorns (though members of this line ''have'' been noted to ingest small quantities of "Aprishakes" without issue) and all parts of the Tamato plant aside from the berry are also toxic to Mareep. Like other ruminant Pokémon such as Miltank and Tauros, creatures in the Mareep line possess a complex digestive system and periodically regurgitate the food they consume to be chewed as cud.

!! Hazards

Despite a typically docile temperament, being relatively easy to care for, and a general reluctance to fighting without the support of a larger group, evolved members of the Mareep line are generally not recommended for younger or more inexperienced Trainers, and like any Pokémon, present a range of hazards to the imprudent Trainer.

Although typically more inclined to flee perceived danger than attempt to stand its ground, members of the Mareep line, especially the initial two forms Mareep and Flaaffy, have been known to be easily startled and to lash out at others when frightened or irritated with a range of painful electrical attacks. These attacks range depending upon form and experience from weak jolts often dubbed "Thunder Waves" that painfully impair an unlucky victim's ability to move his/her limbs, to more potent jolts such as the "Spark" and "Thundershock" attacks, to localized lightning strikes capable of overloading electrical generators creatively dubbed "Thunder" attacks.

The final form, Ampharos is particularly notorious for employing a technique called a "[=ThunderPunch=]," which involves whalloping a target with an electrified "fist," which is not only capable of badly shocking a foe, but also of breaking major bones and causing internal bleeding. Attacks by single members of the Mareep line, barring the stronger members of the Ampharos species, are rarely fatal, attacks by groups or entire flocks of Mareep and its brethren are quite another story. If confronted with an irate or frightened flock, Trainers are encouraged to if at all possible, back away slowly and attempt to make oneself seem as small and non-threatening as possible, lest one incur the collective wrath of a score of these creatures.

It should also be noted that due to the constant presence of static electricity on their bodies, direct contact with members of this line, ''especially'' with woolen regions of their bodies is not advisable by any stretch of the term. Doing so can lead to painful electrical shocks, with effects similar to that of a "Thunder Wave" attack. Although these creatures' command over the electrical charges on their bodies typically becomes increasingly advanced as they evolve, physical contact with Flaaffy and Ampharos is strongly discouraged unless one is absolutely confident of their capability to manipulate the charges on their body, as jolts from these creatures are vastly more painful and serious than those of their initial form.

It should also be noted that members of the Mareep line are also attracted to sources of electrical charges such as electrical wires and less intimidating Electric-type Pokémon, and will attempt to rub against said sources to siphon off electric energy for their bodies. Although seemingly endearing, it should be kept in mind that this practice can easily destroy many personal electronics, and will cause Pokémon who have their energy siphoned off to become fatigued and sluggish. This behavior is a more pressing concern when numerous Mareep or other members of its line become involved, as there is a risk for the unfortunate Trainer or Pokémon of being trampled by the masses of individuals eager to siphon off energy for themselves.

!! Courting

All stages in the Mareep line are capable of reproduction, with reproduction among Mareep being most readily observed simply by mere virtue of its relative abundance in comparison with both of its later forms in both the wild and captivity. All morphs in the Mareep line appear to share a common courting mechanism, where males attempt to attract mates by signaling with their "tail jewels," with preference by females typically gravitating towards the males that produce the most impressive flashes. Like many other courting behaviors among Pokémon, heated battles occasionally break out among prospective males. After selecting the male of their choice, a female will mate before going off to her own devices as a member of her flock. Mareep and its elder brethren have also been recorded mating with individuals outside of their immediate line, though this practice is rare outside of captivity.

!! Social Structure

Like a number of mammalian Pokémon, Mareep eggs are apparently capable of surviving oviparous and ovoviviparous birth, with the latter method most commonly observed among wild Flaaffy and Ampharos, and the former method more commonly observed by wild Mareep and a wide majority of all captive births. Newborn Mareep are remarkably versatile in comparison to many other mammalian Pokémon, with the typical Mareep capable of sight and of taking its first steps shortly after birth. Young Mareep are typically cared for by their mothers for roughly 6-8 months before being left to take care of themselves as members of their flock. Mareep flocks are typically controlled by a small number of particularly strong and typically individuals, who usually receive preference during mating seasons. Beneath this group of "elites" is a complex pecking order determined by displays of dominance, usually by producing the brightest tail flashes. Mareep flocks typically graze on a set area, which only changes with shifts in the abundance of food. Mareep flocks vary wildly in size among wild and captive populations of Mareep, with wild flocks seldom exceeding 20-40 individuals, and captive flocks often consisting of several hundred individuals.

!! In Human Society

The members of the Mareep line have long been domesticated by man, and are one of a few Pokémon to presently be raised ''en masse'' for agricultural purposes. Mareep farms/ranches/stations vary widely in their functions, with some farms specializing in the production of wool, others in the production of meat, and a small but rising number in the production of dairy products. A typical flock at a Mareep farm consists of a large number of Mareep with a small number of Flaaffy or Ampharos acting as flock leaders, with additional supervision and protection provided by a suitably strong canid Pokémon (though a small number of alternative Pokémon also see employment for these purposes). Members of the Mareep line are known to exhibit remarkable problem-solving skills, with escapes from enclosures a constant source of headaches to many a Mareep farmer. Curiously, despite being a perennial in children's works and other media for decades, the practice of consuming Mareep meat does not appear to have begun falling out of public favor until relatively recently, which is likely due in no small part to the prototypical member of this line being portrayed in fiction as cowardly, weak-minded, and dim-witted.

[-Written by {{@/TracerBullet}}-]