! Slugma Line
!! Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
* Slugma [#218]
o Slugma is a large, bulky mollusk -at least as gastropods go- reaching up to 70cm tall at the head when it draws itself up. While mildly interesting based on size, Slugma's most striking characteristic is that its body appears to be composed of bubbling lava. Slugma constantly glows a deep, rich red-orange as a result of this, most noticeably in the dark. Slugma may occasionally be found with a thin layer of hardened mantle over them, which occurs when they rest and the surface of their body is allowed to cool. Rare cases are reported where Slugma take on a grey coloration; this may be due to impurities in their silicate bodies.
* Magcargo [#219]
o The next stage in Slugma's life is distinguishable by a large, bulky shell of rock stationed upon its back. Its mantle extends well into the heart of this shell and it can often be found resting inside in order to conserve heat. An urban legend involves the fragility of the shell; on the contrary, the shell thickens as the creature grows and its thickness is integral to proper insulation. Magcargo's bubbling, lava-like mantle is shared with Slugma, and glows a similar deep red-orange. The rare "impurity" morphs are notable for varying shades of blue and purple. Magcargo are considerably rarer than Slugma, for reasons detailed below.
!! Notable Biology
Slugma and Magcargo share similar biological traits and are closely related, to the point that Magcargo is a true stage in the Slugma lifecycle.
The most notable aspect of these two creatures is their baffling body composition - as mentioned earlier, they appear to be made of liquid-hot lava. ("Magma", while applied to their popular names, is not technically correct unless they are living under the Earth's crust, a habitat for which our scientists are currently unable to drum up research grants to explore.) On average, their body temperature hovers between 1000 and 1800 degrees Farenheit (attn: Prof. Elm, a typo in your Pokedex erroneously reads "18,000." Please update.) Autopsies performed on deceased specimens show bodies composed largely of silicate matter, with varying amounts of other igneous minerals and metals depending on location - differences are noticeable even on specimens collected from differing elevations on the same volcano.
Special note must be made for Magcargo, which differs from simply being a larger and more solidified Slugma in one key way - the development of an internal heat furnace located inside the shell. An active Magcargo will emit flames from holes in its shell more often than an inactive one. This feature allows Magcargos in plume (breeding - see later) to travel farther from the volcano and deposit their plumes in areas of low concentration.
!! Courting and Childrearing
While both Slugma and Magcargo are lithophages (discussed later), they also require considerable amounts of heat, especially Slugma, which depends on geothermal vents for most of its heat intake to break down rock as well as breed. Both Slugma and Magcargo, as gastropod mollusks, are hermaphroditic, though this is considerably less pronounced than in most. They tend to follow a more "male-shifted" or "female-shifted" physiology, the only real difference between the two being sperm vs. egg counts as well as predilections toward draft beer or appletinis.
A Slugma or Magcargo heavy with eggs will display them in large, thick bubbles upon its mantle which incubate the eggs while rotating them gently to ensure proper temperature regulation. This phenomenon is known as being "in plume, " as the reproduction takes place with bursts of lava when the young have reached survival capability. Most of the hordes of young will harden and die, but those that survive keep close to other Slugma or Magcargo, but out of the way of their rasping radula to avoid being inadvertently eaten.
There was one case of a plume coinciding with a Numel/Camerupt migration wherein a young Slugma made itself very comfortable inside the cauldron-like humps of the bull Camerupt and irritated it by chewing on its rocky protrusions.
Slugma are more dependent on location than Magcargo - an important part of their lifecycle. As they are smaller and less well-insulated, Slugma must spend their time in habitats rich in both geothermal activity as well as mineral resources.
Both Slugma and Magcargo are prolific in locations where geothermal activity is highest, and a satellite map of zones where plates meet will invariably coincide with a distribution map of Slugma/Magcargo populations. Colonies have been found on remote volcanic islands with no indication of how they arrived, for example.
As mentioned earlier, Magcargo's role in the Slugma lifespan is a migratory one, explaining the internal heat source, added protection and increased range. Such Magcargo migrations are rare, occurring perhaps once every few dozen years, but the odd Magcargo has been sighted in such odd places as the beach (leaving a trail of glass behind it) and the forest (risking a dangerous fire) in its pursuit of new geothermal activity.
Both creature-types are primarily lithophages; that is, their primary matter intake is rock, which is slowly digested, broken down by their internal heat. The choice elements and minerals are absorbed and the waste products left behind as flakes of obsidian or lumps of granite.
They are also attracted to sources of heat. Cases have been found where Slugma have made the trek down from the mountain, found themselves lost, and curled up in a campfire or perhaps an iron stove to rest in a thin shell of hardened mantle.
That said, they are always game to try anything and their molten bodies help them break down nearly anything into its component elements - such as organic materials or, more worryingly, vital electronics such as a trainer's Pokedex or laptop computer. Trainers should be extraordinarily careful about allowing these creatures near battery-powered devices; they appear to be attracted to them in particular and can cause the batteries to explode or release toxins.
Trainers are not recommended to attempt raising Slugma. Its molten body makes it at once too destructive and too fragile for all but the most dedicated trainers or researchers. Contrary to popular belief (i.e. ConvectionShmonvection), the very air surrounding these lava creatures is enough to cause severe burns, and they occasionally belch poisonous gases. Furthermore, when taken out of their natural element, Slugma are prone to hardening over and perishing due to heat loss, and it is considered cruel by some to take such specialized creatures from their natural habitat.
Compounding this problem is the fact that Magcargo, as a migratory morph of the Slugma line (and thus considerably more suited to adventuring), can be obstinate and singleminded if not accustomed to human trainers. One possible solution is to capture a Slugma but train it in its natural home until it forms a bond with the trainer, in other words, resetting its geothermal-migratory compulsion to migrate along with the trainer. This, of course, is unwieldy and those dedicated few Magcargo trainers tend to simply deal with the creature's obstinacy.
Should one defy common sense and train a Magcargo for the road, be advised that the creature's sheer heat and molten body is an extraordinary hazard for one's own team as well as opponents' Pokemon. A friendly match can easily end in tears, especially for less robust foes, as the opponent is reduced to ashes or, at the very least, suffers extreme burns from the molten lava. Trainers with Pokemon who enjoy roughhousing (i.e. most Fighting types) are advised to keep them separate from the Magcargo for their own safety. Should a Magcargo's shell become ruptured, the resulting eruption may prove lethal before the creature can repair itself.
!! Social Structure and Interactions with Others
Slugma and Magcargo tend to live in large colonies, though they are not particularly social creatures in and of themselves. As volcanic activity is unrelated to seasonal change, they can be found outdoors even in the winter so long as their surrounding temperature remains high. In particularly harsh conditions, Slugma may congregate around the colony's Magcargo, huddling together in an amorphous pile for warmth and heat.
Due to their habitat, Slugma and Magcargo rarely interact with many other Pokemon. Geodude occasionally wander around and reactions are generally mild until the gastropods attempt to rasp off a section of rocky skin. At this point, the Geodude generally flees, these being some of the few creatures it can outrun. Machop enjoy throwing small rocks at them and often compete amongst themselves to see how many they can hit. The Slugma tend to retreat behind larger and tougher Magcargo, which will discourage the Machop if struck.
Numel and Camerupt are an interesting case, and some speculate that their internal magma reservoirs are powered by microcolonies of Slugma feeding upon their rocky interiors. It may be becoming somewhat more discredited with the discovery that only Magcargo have such internal furnaces, though it is entirely possible that a different strain exists in a state symbiotic solely with Camerupt, similar to the clearly mutant Shellder existing with Slowbro.