! Mudkip Line

!! Morphs [Oak Catalog #]

* Mudkip (#258)
* Marshtomp (#259)
* Swampert (#260)

!! Notable Biology

Mudkips are small, amphibious, [[MemeticMutation popular]] creatures, common to pools of calm or standing water all around the Hoenn region. They are also recognized as one of the official starter Pokémon in the Hoenn League. Despite being quadrupeds, as they evolve, their leg muscles get progressively stronger, which allows them to both kick their way through water and stand upright easier. The Pokémon gets its name from their long and frenetic mud baths, which cool and moisturize their skin.

This Pokémon and its evolutions can be distinguished by the large cranial fin and headcrest. This structure serves as a form of attracting mates (seen most often in Swampert). However, it is also equipped with various electrodes and touch-sensitive nerve endings- vital for navigating muddy water where visibility is limited. To maximize this vital advantage, all three creatures are equipped with whisker-like barbels at either side of the face, similarly equipped. Finally, a powerful tail is shared among the line, and this bifurcates in the Marshtomp form, before re-merging as a Swampert.

All three Pokémon also have thin, shiny skin. This skin is coated with a thick layer of mucus, which helps them absorb air, similar to that of a frog. This skin is very sensitive to pollutants and poisons, and can severely damage the Pokémon's respiratory and circulatory system. (Trainer's note: It is wise to make sure that any excessively poisonous Pokémon, such as Grimer or Muk, do not come in close contact with your Mudkip/Marshtomp/Swampert for a prolonged period of time.) Mudkips and Marshtomps are also sensitive to salty water, which can seriously inflame their skin and cause severe epidermal discomfort. Swamperts have tougher skin and nest near oceans, and can withstand the brine better.

Mudkips are well known for their playful and fun-loving temperaments. They will quickly become distraught if they are left alone for long periods of time. Their evolution, the Marshtomp, still remains a cheeriness about it, but it is more tempered. Upon becoming a Swampert, it prefers to be solitary. It will often spend long periods submerged, sleeping or watching for prey. Occasionally it may mistake a human for prey, and its tremendous bulk, deceptive speed, and strength means that whatever comes its way is a suitable meal. In this way, Swampert fill a similar ecological niche to the Feraligatr of the distant Johto region.

!! Habitat

In their juvenile form, Mudkips will congregate in large, noisy colonies around the water's edge from which they hatched. Upon evolving into a Marshtomp, they will leave the safety of the swamp and venture downstream towards the sea. As such, they tend to be more solitary, although their gregarious personality still remains. Swampert are solitary animals, and will only come together to mate and compete for mates.

!! Diet

All three Pokémon are carnivorous, and are most happy eating fish, small reptiles, or occasionally, larger Pokémon. They have no teeth to speak of, but instead a rough, serrated palate and a serrated, bony structure projected from the front of the skull.

!! Hazards

There is very little danger to raising Mudkips or Marshtomps. However, an inexperienced Mudkip may gravitate to its trainer, and fiercely protect him from all threats, real or imaginary. This can include people, and occasionally a Mudkip will lunge for the best friend of a trainer. However, a bull Swampert in heat can be incredibly territorial and aggressive, and may defy a trainer. Male trainers are advised to keep their distance from such animals in the throes of passion. Female trainers may approach the animal, though showy displays of affection are not uncommon.

!! Courting

Upon entering heat, Swamperts will instinctively head towards the nearest swamp, using their advanced directional sense. Once there, females will begin the construction of a large, ornamental nest to house eggs, while males, in the height of breeding season, will sing loud, discordant "songs" in order to win mates. Many will also hold impromptu headbutting contests, using their impressive crest structures. Once laid, the eggs are abandoned to their fate.

!! Social Structure

Mudkips live in large colonies, with the largest of the group referred to as the alpha male. Similar to their mature forms, challengers to the title may attempt to fight the alpha male for the position. This individual is usually the first to evolve and set off on it's downstream journey. Marshtomps and Swamperts, conversely, tend to be solitary.

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