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Anime and Manga
- Dragon Ball:
- The Buyon, which could resist a Kamehameha in a relatively early stage of the series, was present only in a "boss tower" surrounded by an ecosystem in which it couldn't survive (Fridge Logic can be an important part of this trope — in this case, how did they bring the creature into the tower, and where from?). No other specimen ever appears again for the whole series, but it's interesting to see what would have happened if invaders had come across others of the same species — if others existed at all.
- Majin Buu has been around for a long, long time, but nobody, even those who were around when he first went on a rampage, seems to know where he came from, and if there are others like him they've never been seen. Early English translations state that he was created by the wizard Bibidi, but in the original Japanese version Bibidi only figured out how to imprison him.
- Now averted, as there's a whole race of Majins that spawned from Buu.
- Both used and subverted in Toriko. Many animals are so bizarre you don't expect to see another specimen, but sometimes one will show up.
- Unlike the games, the Pokémon animé doesn't tend to regard legendary Pokémon as these:
- The Poké-Gods (i.e. Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, and Arceus) are known to be one-of-a-kind, while Lugia is shown to have a breeding population, and many of the legendary birds (Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres) and legendary beasts (Raikou, Entei, and Suicune) are shown to have different members of the species encountered by the main heroes during the course of the series. Likewise, there has been shown to be more than one Deoxys in the series, and the Mew in Pokémon: The First Movie is a different Mew from the one in Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew. Pokémon 2000 seems to imply that a specific set of the legendary birds (perhaps the progenitors of their respective species, but this isn't spelled out) are uniquely important despite looking the same as the others, since capturing them was catastrophic to the entire planet's weather.
- Mewtwo was created by humans and was the only member of its species as his creators were killed and all the research describing his creation was destroyed. That is, until Genesect and the Legend Awakened introduced a second Mewtwo that has no relation to the first (don't ask how that's possible, by the way). In the same movie, five Genesect are introduced as opposed to the lone one in the games.
- Also, Latios and Latias are shown to be the offspring of another pair of Latios/Latias in Pokémon Heroes, and Shaymin in Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior is actually part of a group of Shaymin. There also appear to be two different Jirachi in Pokémon: Jirachi: Wishmaker and the Best Wishes episode "Wish on Jirachi: The Seven Day Miracle" (although the existence of two Millennium Comets is harder to explain).
- Pokémon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages manages to complicate matters by having its star Pokémon, Hoopa, capable of summoning a great number of legendary Pokémon from other dimensions. Almost all have appeared in previous movies, but it isn't known if the ones that appear in this movie are the same individuals (apart from Rayquaza, who is a shiny in Clash Of Ages, making it a different member of a Single Specimen Species).
- Pokémon Adventures, in contrast to the anime, keeps the tradition of only one species with all legendary Pokémon, with the exception of Deoxys.
- The concept/cosmic entity Dream from The Sandman. When the protagonist Dream, Morpheus, dies there is a replacement Dream from a child named Daniel. Although Morpheus is definitely dead, Dream isn't. While the new Dream came from Daniel, he is not Daniel. And while the new and old Dream are treated differently by the rest of the cast, they aren't quite considered separate beings. As Abel put it, it's the same concept but a different perspective.
- There’s a Green Lantern called Adam, who is the only member of his species. He dies whenever he gives birth but his Power Ring lets him keep memories from previous generations.
- Godzilla and other more traditional kaiju sometimes are shown to have offspring, so they're right out. However, the viewers see no indication of a Gojiru population from which it might have sprang. The known Godzilla population is Godzilla (1954), Godzilla (Showa), Minya, Godzilla (Heisei), Godzilla Junior, Godzilla Millennium, Godzilla SOS, and Final Wars Godzilla. However, thanks to Canon Discontinuity, it's hard to tell if there are any others or of what relation they all are to one another in the first place. In Godzilla (2014), he is the last survivor of a race of alpha predators. Shin Godzilla is the first of a species actually created by radiation and marine microorganisms, not simply awoken or empowered by it, though potentially not the last.
- King Kong:
- Star Wars: The Sarlacc and the Exogorth (Space Worm), prior to the somewhat dubious explanation for each in the Extended Universe novels and books.
- Subverted in Rodan. The eponymous mutated Pteranodons are shown to be a breeding pair.
- The Heisei Gamera films:
- Averted with the Gyaos. They can reproduce asexually and are soon able to attack in large swarms.
- Likewise, subverted with Gamera himself. At first glace, it seems that he's the only one of his species. Then, during Awakening of Irys, we see that there were thousands of Gamera that existed before him, but were all killed out leaving him to be the last of his kind.
- Gonzo from The Muppets was this for a while before being revealed as an alien, since he himself didn't even know what he was. Invariable he was referred to as something like "a whatever he is".
- In Muppet Babies, he's often classified as a "weirdo".
- The title creature of The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep is explicitly stated to be a Single Specimen Species. "The rarest of all creatures", there can only be one at a time. The creature is not depicted as magical, nor does the issue go unexplored: it's explained that each water horse lays a single egg and dies before the egg hatches, making the protagonists determined to protect the one they have in their possession.
- Audrey Jr. from The Little Shop of Horrors is the only one of his kind in existence as he was a crossbreed between a butterwort and a Venus flytrap. In the musical, he’s an alien so there are probably more of them in space but the only other one we see is in Seymour’s flower bed after the original Audrey II is killed.
- The play and the musical's Director Cut have them breeding and taking over America.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- In the Mithgar books, which started as Tolkien fanfic complete with pseudo-Moria and pseudo-Watcher, there is eventually an explanation both for the ecology and how such a huge monster got into the isolated lake - it's a kraken, they're part of a Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism with dragons, and a dragon flew by and dropped it into the lake to annoy the dwarves. The dwarves manage to kill it by breaking the dam and draining the lake.
- The title "character" in The Illuminatus Trilogy: Leviathan is a gigantic single-celled organism at the bottom of the ocean, a result of the first cell division that just got bigger and bigger while the rest of life on Earth developed into multicellular organisms. It's actually just a metaphor for the State. Straight out of Thomas Hobbes' article of the same name.
- In The Last Continent, the Wizards of Unseen University visit an island populated only with single specimen species. This is because the island is home to the god of evolution, who personally engineers each animal (and tweaks it as it goes along), and is blissfully unaware of things like sexual reproduction.
- Adam in The Bible qualified, before Eve entered the picture. God himself too. note
- The Incredibly Deadly Viper in A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh. He gleefully rejoices in it too.
- Marko from The Sanguine Chronicles is a half-vampire, half-werewolf… which for reasons outlined in the story, is supposed to be impossible.
- The Goo in Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings is an enormous, unique, single-celled organism much like that from Illuminatus above, although it's not a metaphor, it's a great huge organism on the bottom of the sea. It's also the god that whales pray to which ensures there's always plankton. And it does.
- The main characters in The Long Earth met First Person Singular that was travelling from its homeworld which was a Joker Earth (It Makes Sense in Context) where life evolved in an utterly different direction, staying at germ size but co-operatively working together to create intelligence. It covered the entire ocean, with land that's lifeless. However, when it stepped side-wise to the next Earth, only a portion of it went, so it's not a perfect example after stepping discovery.
- In the sequels, this is retconned so there are millions of Earth's which evolved in a similar manner, and many examples of similar organisms wandering around the Long Earth. This is despite First Person Singular having been explicitly stated to be unique, and having been viewed as a major threat to the whole Long Earth by the trolls who have been living in and travelling it for millions of years. It goes from the main threat and climax of the first book to being handwaved as nothing special and then never mentioned again.
Live Action TV
- A number of entities and creatures in the various Star Trek series.
- On The Original Series
- The creature that was Jack The Ripper. An entity that fed on fear and death, who claimed to be as old as time.
- The Guardian of Forever. While the ruins around it seem to imply that it was artificially created, it claims to have always been. (Or at least to be older than Earth's sun.)
- On The Next Generation
- Ronin is a ghost-like lifeform apparently from Earth that bonds symbiotically with a human female, giving her pleasure in exchange for some kind of sustenance.
- The "Crystalline Entity" is a space-faring creature that consumes organic matter from entire planets. No other examples of its species were seen (until the MMORPG came out, at least).
- On Voyager
- The Telepathic Pitcher Plant, a giant space monster that would Mind Control the crews of passing starships to fly into its mouth so it could eat the ship whole.
- The Nebula Creature (a massive organism that Voyager mistook for a nebula.)
- Bevvox, the founder of The Think Tank, a huge organism which previously wandered the stars by itself for thousands of years. Unlike some of the others listed here, instead of bragging about how ancient it is, it's apparently sensitive about its age.
- On The Original Series
- One episode of How I Met Your Mother had Marshall and Lily discover a small animal living in their apartment that had the characteristics of both a cockroach and a mouse: they dub it a cockamouse. No such creature is ever heard of again after they threw it out the apartment window (don't worry; it can fly).
- The cockamouse turns up in a later episode, in a room in a rundown hotel that Ted stays in for plot-related reasons. He cheerfully reports that it's had babies.
- Many, many monsters of the week on The X-Files and The Outer Limits.
- Averted in Stargate SG-1. It looks to be a straight example when the Unas is first shown (his name certainly gives the impression). Another doesn't come along until two seasons later, at which point their nature as a species is explained (and Jack lampshades the confusing name.
- Many of Echidna's monstrous children such as Cerberus and the Hydra are these.
- The Phoenix — the western one — was the only member of its species. "As singular as the phoenix" was a common comparison.
- Similarly, there was originally only one Pegasus, born from the blood of Medusa.
- The Minotaur. Most versions have a bull's head, with horns, hooves instead of feet, hands as hard as horn with a bull's strength in striking, and a taste for raw flesh. It was uncontrollable and had to be imprisoned in Crete's Labyrinth -which makes the pictures of him with the ring in his nose rather odd.*
- The Chimera, a three-headed female monster that was part goat, part snake, part lion, with a head for each and breathes fire. It terrorized Lycia as some sort of ancient Kaiju until it was slain by Bellerophon.
- In early editions of Dungeons & Dragons, any creature with a Frequency of "Unique" was this trope, as there was only one of them. Examples included demon lords, arch devils, deities and the tarrasque.
- The fluff indicated this for the Tarrasque in later editions, as well, with the crossover-relevant proviso that unique means per world, not for the entire multiverse (Spelljammer had an apparent exception to that as well — a world crawling with Tarrasque-like beasts... that are docile lithovores. It is theorized to be the Tarrasque homeworld, and the native state of the being when not exposed to other atmospheres).
- Pokémon has a number of "legendary Pokémon" who are depicted as this, though it's sometimes unclear if there's only one ever, or if they're simply rare and limited in number:
- A number of Pokémon are on the level of gods and almost certain to be one-of-a-kind: Groudon, Kyogre, Rayquaza, Arceus, Xerneas, Yveltal, and Alola's "Tapu" guardian deities (Tapu Koko, Tapu Lele, Tapu Bulu, and Tapu Fini). Zygarde might also count depending on how you define "single specimen". There are other legendary Pokémon that are considered godlike, but it's more ambiguous if there are more than one of them or not. Some forms of Pokémon media even contradict each other, such as multiples of supposed one-of-a-kind legendaries.
- There are also a number of cases where these "god" Pokémon made unique creations in some way or another: Ho-oh resurrected and transformed three Pokémon into Raikou, Entei, and Suicune, Arceus directly created Uxie, Mesprit, Azelf, Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina (though it is known to make seconds of the latter three... but according to Word of God it has to recreate the world from scratch to do so), and an unnamed dragon split itself into Reshiram, Zekrom, and Kyurem.
- Other than "god" Pokémon, you've also got one-off results of human experimentation: Mewtwo, Genesect, and Magearna. There's also the non-legendary Type: Null/Silvally, which is a semi-aversion — only three specimens exist; one is owned by Gladion, one goes to the player, and the third remains absent, presumably as a means of attaining it in future games.
- There are also a few definite aversions: Latias is stated not to be one-of-a-kind in its Emerald Pokédex entry (and its Spear Counterpart Latios would logically be the same), Deoxys and Diancie come from rare but repeatable mutations, Manaphy are known to both hatch from eggs and produce more eggs (though their offspring in captivity are Phione and not more Manaphy), Keldeo is known to have had parents (but may be the Last of Its Kind now), and the Cosmog line can breed once fully evolved into Solgaleo and Lunala.
- While distinct from legendary Pokémon, the Ultra Beasts are another aversion, since multiple specimens of each one are seen/encountered at various points. Of course, they have no real "legend" and are simply Pokémon which hail from a completely different dimension. The jury's still out on Necrozma (who may or may not be a member of the Ultra Beasts), however.
- It should be noted that recent games (starting with Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire) have started implying that each individual playthrough is considered an Alternate Universe in canon - there may be only one Mewtwo in your universe, but there's nothing stopping you from trading for a second one from the next universe over.
- In Pikmin, the Puffstool and Smoky Progg are fought only once and do not appear in the sequel. Averted in Pikmin 2 since any boss can be fought again, even if killed the first time.
- The Progg, however is claimed to be a mutant baby Mamuta by the end credits.
- The Nihilanth in Half-Life are similar biologically to other Xen creatures (especially the controllers), but apparently the only one of his species. According to Word of God the Nihilanth's species was systematically hunted down and exterminated by the Combine until only this one remained. Until Gordon killed it, anyway.
- Forgotten Beasts in Dwarf Fortress are forgotten remnants from when the gods created a given world. Each one is unique as a result of being procedurally generated, and can vary in terms of limb count, tails, flight, dangerous excretions, and sometimes being made of inorganic things like glass or mist.
- This gets weird when there is no feasible way for them to survive until they reach you. Creatures made of Mist, Fire, Water, and Dirt are universally killed in one or two hits because the materials they are made of tend to fall apart when attacked; your dwarves tending to punch heads, this causes heads to break apart, killing the creature.
- The Thorian in Mass Effect was the only known specimen of its species in existence. This is probably a good thing, as it was hostile to most other forms of life and liked to mind-control people through spores. All that's left of it now is its nearly planet-wide root system... hopefully it can't regrow itself from that.
- It's implied that Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog is the only multiple-tailed fox on the planet.
- In Starcraft II, two unique Zerg entities appear during the Heart of the Swarm campaign. Izsha probably doesn't count so much, given she was mutated from a Terran woman, but Abathur is a totally unique abomination created by the Overmind itself to serve as the chief geneticist for the Swarm; Abathur even notes during the campaign that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for his geno-structure to be recreated and for more like him to be made.
- Torkscrew in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. This boss... is never really explained species wise, and the game itself actually has characters who wonder what the hell it is and whether things like that live in the desert now. Additionally, you could also say this applies to the Zeekeeper, although that's probably due to him being a deity.
- Played many ways in different Metroid games. Some bosses, such as Sheegoth and the Metroids are mature metamorphoses of a mook species, others like the Ing gain unique forms by consuming technology, some creatures like Thardus are not even classifiable as biological organisms, and then there's Ridley who, despite being revealed to have a metamorphic growth cycle in Other M, has only one known body at a time. His consciousness seems to persist between incarnations as a facet of the same psychic power that lets him control the Space Pirates.
- Fire Emblem Awakening has Nah, the half-human, half-Manakete daughter of Nowi, who, according to the Manakete princess Tiki in their support conversations, is the first and (presumably) only non-full-blooded Manakete in the history of Ylisse (and Archanea, as the continent was once known).
- Any Kaiju in The Powerpuff Girls.
- Most imaginary friends in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
- Each of the 627 genetic experiments in Lilo & Stitch: The Series and Leroy from Leroy & Stitch
- Ben 10: Alien Force: Sugilite, guardian of Petropia, is the only one of his kind, until a sample of his DNA was placed into the Omnitrix, creating Ben's Chromastone form.
- The Hydra and the Sea Serpent in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The Hydra lives in a swamp inhabited by tiny frogs within walking distance of Ponyville and is more than eager to chase Twilight Sparkle and her friends, yet never seems to stroll over to munch on the happy little ponies. The Sea Serpent is much more friendly, can talk, and is very very Camp Gay, and shouldn't even be able to fit in the tiny river he lives in, let alone find enough food to keep himself going.
- Tales of the Loch Ness Monster. Unless it actually is a type of aquatic dinosaur, if it exists. That would make it a Last of His Kind scenario.
- Scientists uncover these all the time. Frighteningly, it's often unknown if they are the last of a species wiped out by human activity or the tip of an iceberg that is never uncovered because a second specimen is never identified. A rule of thumb regarding species is that common is rare and rare is common, or that there are more species with smaller sample sizes than there are of large known populations.
- The most extreme example is a bird known by a single wing. It has never been seen since, and it is possible it was a mutation, not a different species.
- Some long-extinct species are known from only one fossil (hence a single specimen), which can make it difficult to know which features were common to the whole species and which were specific to the organism; for example, the specimen may have had a genetic disorder, or may be younger (and hence smaller) than average. Also, even after other fossils are uncovered, the original discovery may be so iconic that it is forever tied to the species, especially if the original has a name: far more people know about "Lucy" than about Australopithecus afarensis.
- These examples overlap with Last of His Kind
- Lonesome George, the very last Pinta Island Tortoise, until his death in June 24, 2012.
- Hyophorbe amaricaulis, the Loneliest Palm. This is a species of palm tree with only one known member in the world, in a garden in Mauritius.
- The 52-hertz whale, the Loneliest Whale. Its actual species is unknown, but it has a unique song, and has never gotten a response in the years researchers have been recording it.
- Several animal hybrids exist that have had only one known representative, such as Harjeeven the half-African/half-Asian elephant calf (deceased) born at Chester Zoo. Most such hybrids arise in captivity, as species that interbreed in the wild tend to do so more frequently than this trope demands.