Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
- Shellder 
- Cloyster 
Notable BiologyThe internal structure of Shellder and Cloyster was only determined recently, due to the difficulties involved in examining both organisms. The shells of both organisms are formed from a combination of chitin, protein and calcium salts, and much of the internal organs lie anchored in pockets within the shell. Any irritating foreign particles that are trapped within the shell get coated with layers of calcium carbonate. Once they form pearls, they are internally moved to sacs near the protrusions and spikes, which then add additional layers of the salt until the pearls form spikes. These spikes can then be launched by the Pokemon as an offensive and defensive mechanism, and both Pokemon have extensive organs revolving around extracting additional salts from their environment for use in this process. The substantially larger Cloyster has many more of these organs, as well as heat-exchanging sacs, as Cloyster develops the Ice type when it evolves. Both Pokemon contain water sacs which allow them to jet underwater, sometimes with surprising speed. They can also physically hop or roll along the ground, either above or under water, though this movement is very slow. The layered shell of Shellder and especially Cloyster is incredibly durable, and particularly the latter has been compared to precious gemstones in terms of hardness. Even scratching the shell is difficult and studies have observed both Pokemon contain enzymes within the shell that rapidly repair scratches and cracks. This is invaluable if the Pokemon fractures its shell as a response to danger (see Hazards below).
HabitatShellder and Cloyster predominantly live underwater, though they can live on land for extended periods of time thanks to their internal water stores. They prefer rocky environments, and while some Shellder are seen on sandy sea floors, no Cloyster is ever seen in the wild away from rocky floor or coral reefs. Temperature does not seem to have a huge influence, with wild colonies being observed in places ranging from the Seafoam Islands to Undella Bay - indeed, the only stable wild Cloyster colonies are in Undella. Because of a need to extract salts to form the spikes they use, Shellder and Cloyster are never found within fresh water.
DietBoth Shellder and Cloyster are carnivorous. Shellder are predominantly ambush predators who usually sit in a spot with their bright red tongue acting out. The tongue acts as a lure, and when something small enough moves towards it or nibbles on it, the Shellder quickly surges forward and snaps down on it. In times of famine, some Shellder will abandon this approach and instead jet around, and try to impale something edible with launched spikes. This behaviour has not been observed to be universal, however. Cloyster can rarely succeed as an ambush predator, having difficulties hiding compared to the much smaller Shellder and lacking anything that can act as an inviting lure. A Cloyster will instead set up a hunting ground in a rocky area near a more open area of water. When something edible moves close enough to the Cloyster, it will propel itself out of the rocks and attempt to shoot it with spikes. Both species attack prey that are close to themselves in size, and in Cloyster's case, they'll attack even bigger things if they are desperate or aggressive enough. Both Pokemon also need to eat rocks, minerals or other substances to increase the rate at which they produce the pearl spikes. They do this by crushing the rock with its shell and then absorbing the salt as normal, though of course it is more concentrated.
HazardsWild Shellder are only a threat if they are particularly hungry or a person antagonises them somehow, usually by seeking to capture them or accidentally stepping on them if they are in a shallow pool. A Shellder that is stepped on will typically respond by shifting backwards and snapping shut on the offending foot. This can be very painful, and a Shellder so clamping is very difficult to remove by physical force. A Shellder's spikes can cause painful puncture wounds, but they are rarely anything that warrants significant medical care. Cloyster are potentially more dangerous, though at least it's impossible to accidentally step on them. They tend to only attack when hungry or disturbed, and do so almost solely through their spikes. As a Cloyster's spikes are much larger and shot with more force, being injured is a much more serious matter. Some members of each species have been observed to have a phenomenal accuracy with launched spikes, able to strike a target in almost the exact same place even if it moves. Injuries caused by this subspecies of Shellder and Cloyster are much more localised, but also much more severe. This ability is not universal, and there are no obvious differences between the Pokemon with this ability and the Pokemon without. Finally, a handful of Shellder and Cloyster have been observed, when seriously stressed, to fracture their own shells. This triggers a massive sympathetic response, far beyond an ordinary adrenaline response, and begins launching tiny pieces of their own shell. While smaller, these pieces of shell are far harder and sharper than the spikes they normally use, and tests have shown that a Cloyster under these conditions can puncture even heavy armour used in vehicles designed to travel in mountains and survive the blows of Pokemon like Aggron and Steelix. Its reflexes are sharper and it is capable of moving much faster than it otherwise could. However, the fractured shell is weaker and the stress the technique puts on its body means any injuries suffered by the Pokemon are much more likely to be permanent or fatal. It is unlikely that a human would disturb a Shellder or Cloyster seriously enough to provoke them to use this technique, so it is only recorded to note that if you see a Shellder or Cloyster with a fractured shell, stay away from it and contact your local Pokemon Ranger group. Thanks to the shell's repair mechanism, if the Pokemon is able to rest for a short time, it can mend its shell and return to its normal resting state. If you are properly prepared, neither Shellder or Cloyster is much of a threat. Like all water Pokemon, electric and grass attacks can repel them, and in the case of Cloyster, fighting and rock attacks also work well. Finally, while the structure of the shells repels physical blows very well, they are essentially worthless against non-contact attacks which will easily drive them off.
Courting and ChildrearingBoth Shellder and Cloyster are fertile, and neither Pokemon courts nor cares for offspring. Males and females release clouds of genetic material during summer, which drift until fertilization occurs. In locations with many Shellder and Cloyster, potentially thousands of offspring can be produced. However, young Shellder are vulnerable during early life as their shells have not yet fully developed, and so many of them get eaten by other Pokemon.
Social StructureShellder ignore any other Shellders nearby. They do not communicate, coordinate, and only compete in the sense that each Shellder tongue in the area decreases each Shellder's chance of eating. Because of this, Shellders tend to end up in small groups based on the amount of food available, as unlucky Shellders go hungry and try to find food elsewhere. The few wild Cloyster that exist rarely come into contact with each other, and are only barely more social than Shellder. If two want to occupy the same piece of rock, they may come into conflict with each other if there is not enough room. Again, if there is not enough food, the Cloyster who is simply not getting as much food moves on of its own will.
In Popular CultureBeyond one-shot comedic gags in beach settings, Shellder and Cloyster rarely show up as characters in fictional works. However, parts of their body show up a lot more. Both the shells and the pearls, the precursors to the spikes, are highly valued for their beauty and several priceless artefacts consist wholly or in part of Shellder or Cloyster shell or pearl in real life. This is increased in fiction to the point where anything that is symbolically linked with water has a good chance of being made of Shellder or Cloyster, and a handful of fictional characters have entire suits of heavy armour made of Cloyster shell. Cloyster Plate also regularly occurs as a rare armour in role-playing games. I went back and touched up the article a bit. Skill Link and Shell Smash are no longer mentioned by name, and I added something about increasing their salt intake. I did check that Shellder and Misdreavus hadn't been done or had anyone call dibs on them already. I've been lurking for a bit. Thanks for the criticism and support.
edited 20th Mar '11 7:24:48 PM by Smiggins
edited 20th Mar '11 8:36:46 AM by Blissey1
edited 20th Mar '11 9:20:33 AM by Neo_Crimson
General CharacteristicsGhost Pokemon are one of the most poorly understood type classification in the Pokemon kingdom. In ancient times, Ghost Pokemon were believed to be actual ghosts and were both revered and hated, with many a legend warning of their malice. This was in part, due to their tendecy to play sometimes extreme pranks on humans and other Pokemon and their behaviour was often, and sometimes still is mistakenly attributed to evil intent. Their predisposition to inhabit areas associated with death and their ethereal characteristics also helped to fuel the misunderstanding. It is rarely the case, however, that pure malevolence is the motivation behind such actions. Many Ghost Pokemon depend on strong negative emotions for subsistence and Spiritomb in particular have been known to orchestrate elaborate feuds when strife was scarce in order to feed on the emotions of furious parties. In fact, while their mischief-making can sometimes be very destructive, Ghost Pokemon play a critical role in controlling outbreaks of negative emotions in their environment, especially human establishments. In times of war and conflict, Ghost Pokemon have been known to scour the land for grieving, despairing people and Pokemon, absorbing their negative emotions and relieving them of their anguish, although they were often misconstrued as harbingers of death as a consequence. For this reason, Ghost Pokemon are tolerated, if not welcome today in most modern human societies. Ghost Pokemon have no specific behavioural adaptations to avoid predation as their ability to phase, sensitivity to their surroundings and illusory abilities are sufficient to evade most predators. Ghost Pokemon are largely ignored by most other Pokemon as a food source as their bodies consist of bad-tasting umbrate and inorganic substances. In the wild, their only natural predators are Dark Pokemon, which have the advantage in terms of typing and are also well adapted to strike before Ghost Pokemon can notice them. Dark Pokemon are also the only Pokemon to have a distinct partiality for umbrate. Even today, while great advancements have been made in understanding and explaining the biology of other type classifications, human knowledge of Ghost Pokemon is comparatively sketchy, with enduring debates among scientists on everything from their neurology to their origins.
PowersGhost Pokemon possess the ability to modify substances within their body on a molecular scale and studies have shown that they may have even more control of their body matter than previously thought. While many other Pokemon have some control over the molecular structure of their bodily substances, there are few Pokemon that can match the flexibility of the molecular manipulation that Ghost Pokemon possess. Ghost Pokemon rely heavily on molecular modification for locomotion, growth, fighting, assimilation of foreign matter and many other critical bodily functions. Most of their young are born with very little finesse in the technique and master it only after years of use. However, under the guide of skilled Trainers, young Ghost Pokemon may acquire a level of skill in molecular manipulation on par with a typical mature wild individual within weeks. While Ghost Pokemon do create certain sensory organs for themselves such as eyes, they also possess the ability to create psychic sensory fields in the same manner Psychic Pokemon do. Psychic sensing is important for the location of food sources (especially intangible ones), finding mates and evasion of most enemies. Ghost Pokemon are one of the few organisms that have the ability to phase. The only other Pokemon known to possess innate phasing abilities are Darkrai and Palkia. Although the vast majority of research on Ghost Pokemon specifically concentrates on their phasing power, little progress has been made in understanding the mechanism behind it. Modification of their bodily substances appears to be important to successful phasing and it is not unusual for juveniles inexperienced in such techniques to be unable to phase. Recently, research by the space energy company Team Galactic has found very brief and minute disturbances in the local space when Ghost Pokemon phase. This new discovery was made possible due to new, very sensitive instruments that specialise in detecting anomalies in space-time. It has been speculated that a space-manipulation technique, similar to how Pokeballs store Pokemon, may be involved in phasing.
MorphologyGhost Pokemon are distinguished by the presence of a material called umbrate on their bodies. Freshly produced umbrate is a soft, dull purple powder-like substance which is usually arranged in a cutaneous, organ-like as well as a vein-like fashion held in place by electromagnetic forces, although it is trivially easy for Ghost Pokemon to manipulate their umbrate into any formation they like. Umbrate is an all-purpose building block used to create everything from limbs to ocular organs. The collective formations of umbrate is therefore considered the Ghost Pokemon's body. While umbrate normally appears purple, Ghost Pokemon can change its molecular structure to absorb different wavelengths of light, giving rise to colours from the yellow bands of a Dusknoir's belly to the sky blue head of a male Jellicent. While a Ghost Pokemon's body may be said to be its umbrate formations, Ghost Pokemon can exist purely as a mass of electromagnetic fields. In this state, Ghost Pokemon are still able to move, think and execute rudimentary attacks. It has been theorised that collectively, these fields make up the brain as Ghost Pokemon do not appear to have a discrete nervous system. Such a form is usually taken when the Ghost Pokemon is too weak to maintain its structure and permanent dissapation of the individual's electromagnetic fields (or 'death') may follow. Fainted Ghost Pokemon do not take on this form, but it can occur if a Ghost Pokemon has been starved of its normal diet for too long. It is unusual for a Ghost Pokemon to take this form if the individual is otherwise healthy, however, the more ethereal species, such as Gastly, have been occasionally observed in the wild to adopt a slightly more corporeal version of such a form for extended periods of time, by spreading their umbrate across the sky. It is likely that this behaviour may be a regulating mechanism to purge their umbrate formations of unwanted debris as Ghost Pokemon do not have a self-regulating excretory system, indeed, they must consciously push undesirable substances out of their bodies. There are also speculations that it is used as kind of pleasure-seeking tool as the pyschological after-effects bears a resemblance to that of artificially-induced euphoria in humans. Umbrate is highly conductive of Ghost-specific energy and less so for other type-specific energies. As such, it plays an important role in Ghost Pokemon for the channeling and concentrating of their powers, in addition to its role as material for the body. Cutaceous umbrate is usually saturated with Ghost-specific energy and acts as a protective outer layer. In most species, umbrate is created very slowly inside the main body and a certain critical mass of umbrate is requisite for evolution in many species. Juveniles approaching maturity and individuals with damaged bodies can accelerate the production of new umbrate to the point where the growth can easily be seen in real time, however, it is very physically taxing and unaccustomed juveniles may fall into a fainted state for some time. Umbrate is not known to be found anywhere else in the wild but certain species, such as Dusknoir, regularly shed some of their umbrate. Discarded umbrate can retain the physical characteristics it had when it was seperated from the main body for a very long time and has been exploited for centuries as a luxury textile. Umbrate dating is also an important paleontological technique in ruins, which Ghost Pokemon tend to inhabit. Even today, opportunistic Trainers sometimes hunt for these sheddings and trade them as valuable items. While all Ghost Pokemon have umbrate on some part of their bodies, the majority integrate other materials from their environments into themselves, presumely for defense. Such materials are usually modified on a molecular scale when integrated, however, they will instantly revert to their original state should their users discard them - a classical example is Rotom. In the case of Rotom, some individuals in Unova have reportedly even been able to modify their umbrate to take on the elemental characteristics of the appliances they possess under the guidance of their Trainers. Although the modification of extraneous substances appears to help Ghost Pokemon to phase without leaving their adopted load behind, assimilation of larger volumes foreign matter appears to hinder the ease of phasing somewhat and in a few species, such as Golurk, only vestigial phasing abilities are present.
DietGhost Pokemon have some of the most unusual diets in the Pokemon kingdom. All known Ghost Pokemon are able to absorb negative emotions as sustenace although their dependency on it varies among species. The more mature morphs of the Litwick life cycle have evolved to become almost entirely dependent on the emotions expressed during death, such as grief and regret, while the juveline morph specialises in encouraging and then absorbing feelings of fatigue. In contrast, Cofagrigus live largely on a diet of gold and other precious substances, although they will also take in feelings of greed and envy when the opportunity presents itself. Jellicents are on the extreme end of a diet lacking in anima - they are almost exclusively carnivores. However, even Jellicents will occasionally hitch a risky ride on a raging Gyarados and feed on its often inexplicable fury. It is unknown exactly how Ghost Pokemon are able to discriminate among and absorb emotions or why they are only capable of feeding on negative emotions. It has been theorised that they are able to convert strong feelings into usable energy in a way similar to how Aura outwardly manifests itself. All Ghost Pokemon can assimilate organic food into their body and as with all Pokemon, enjoy Berries and treats made from Berries. They do not directly digest their food, unlike most other organisms. Instead, useful substances in the food are simply extracted, subjected to molecular modification and integrated into the body, while the rest is duly discarded.
BreedingDespite their classification nomenclature, most Ghost Pokemon do breed and engage in courtship rituals. Species are usually either monogamic or gather in swarms to breed. In some swarming species, breeding cycles are tied to the phases of the moon. However, their breeding behaviour is poorly understood as parts of it are largely unobservable, even through very sensitive instruments such as the Silph Scope. All mating Ghost Pokemon undergo a special period towards the end of the courtship process called obscura, where the mating pair seemingly disappears completely from all sensual and instrumental observation, then reappear some time later in the same locale with the female carrying an egg. During this period, strong electromagnetic radiation emitting from their original location surround the immediate area. Swarming species are often considered pests for this reason as the radiation from their combined obscurae can easily damage unshielded electronics within a large radius of the swarm. With the exception of Giratina, Ghost Pokemon appear to be unable to reproduce the effects of obscura when not mating, even when coerced or ordered to. The legendary Pokemon Giratina appears to have spliced some kind of otherworldly material into its umbrate and preliminary findings suggests that it employs a highly precise and instantaneous technique, similar to the effects of the obscura mating process, to pass through matter rather than phase directly. Giratina is also capable of exploiting the vanishing effect for short periods of time to gather energy for an attack. As Giratina's control of dimensions is well documented, it is likely that obscura involves the manipulation of dimensions. What can be directly observed of their breeding behaviour is mostly limited to their courtship rituals and as such, they are the most well documented aspect of Ghost Pokemon breeding. Monogamic species often have extremely convoluted rituals while swarming species have more simplistic mating processes. The courtship ritual for Gengars has been observed to last for exactly seven days, with the male carefully shadowing the female while she attempts to shake off his tail with illusions and trickery. In comparison, swarming Jellicents release pheromones unique to each individual into the water and the individuals then move to the source of the pheromones that they are attracted to the most, with males fighting off other potential mates with all manner of actions such as battle moves, dancing and even singing. Interspecies courting often display elements from the rituals of both species and can vary wildly among different pairs and even the same pair may not exhibit consistent behaviour.
edited 31st Mar '11 6:27:20 PM by Thrombin
edited 20th Mar '11 3:56:57 PM by Blissey1
edited 20th Mar '11 4:08:22 PM by Thrombin
edited 20th Mar '11 4:10:32 PM by Thrombin
edited 20th Mar '11 4:25:14 PM by SilentReverence
edited 20th Mar '11 4:29:51 PM by Thrombin
edited 20th Mar '11 4:34:35 PM by Thrombin
edited 20th Mar '11 4:40:09 PM by Neo_Crimson