At the risk of disturbing the spiders that were just starting to build their cobwebs, I present my Lotad Article (preliminary)
Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
- Lotad [#069]
- Lombre [#070]
- Ludicolo [#071]
The Lotad line are a lake-dwelling species endemic to the Hoenn region, whose members are noted for having lilypads atop their heads and a beak-like protrusion around their mouths. This line are good-natured, mostly harmless and herbivourous pokemon, making them good choices for beginning trainers.
All three of these pokemon are capable of undergoing a metamorphosis when deprived of water, shedding their normal, porous skins for a hard shell-like casing. While this is unlikely to occur in their native region of Hoenn, Lotad and Lombre have been noted to enter this state of suspended animation in the Orre region when abandoned. This is largely an involuntary survival response, as introduction to a large enough body of water usually revives the pokemon swiftly. [TRAINER'S NOTE: Forcing your pokemon to enter this state is considered abuse and will be dealt with appropriately.]
All of these pokemon are largely amphibious, capable of absorbing water directly through their skin so are almost never found away from a source of fresh water, usually a pond, lake or river. [TRAINER'S NOTE: Tap water will poison your Lotad, due to chemicals present in the purification process. An artificial pond or water feature is highly recommended before you keep Lotad as a pet.] Their lilypads are especially absorbent, allowing certain members of this species to gain nutrition from rainwater or stored lakewater.
Lotad, the most basic form of the line, is a small, blue creature, unusual amongst non-bug type pokemon for having six stubby legs. These aren't part of the pokemon's skeleton, but rather cartiliginous nubs that serve as steering. The pokemon's bony limbs are within its body to avoid damage to the partially formed bones.
However, easily the most notable feature of Lotad is the massive lilypad along its back. This is actually its primary food source, as the beak present in the later forms is underdeveloped here. This beak is only present on the upper lip for most of its life as a lotad. Once the lower jaw begins to develop, it is close to evolution.
Lombre is the next form and is radically different from the larval lotad. The pokemon now has four fully articulated limbs and a full, red beak. This nocturnal pokemon uses the rough inner surface of the beak to strip both underwater and lakeside plants of their leaves. Though it is strictly herbivourous, it seems to enjoy snatching lures off fishing lines, natural or artificial.
Though the lilypad atop its head may seem to be smaller, this is simply due to the Lombre's increased size. Now approximately 1m (3 feet) tall, it is able to walk on its stocky hind legs. The forelimbs are used mostly for swimming, being used in a stroke that is reminiscent of, and indeed inspired, Hoennian pearl divers. When cornered, the lombre will often strike out with claws on its forelimbs, a technique similar to the Skitty line's 'Fury Swipes'.
Lombre's green skin is covered in a slippery, foul-smelling, foul-tasting slime. This slime serves the dual purpose of retaining water when on land and discouraging predators such as Zangoose or Corphish. Tests show that the beak is little more than a hardened buildup of this film, though the exact nature of the hardening process is poorly understood.
When exposed to radiation from a water stone, lombre will evolve into the aptly-named 'carefree pokemon', otherwise known as Ludicolo. Resembling a pineapple more than its previous evolutions, Ludicolo retains both the bipedal stance and lilypad from its time as a Lombre. This radical difference is mostly due to a covering of watertight, brown-striped yellow hairs. This is a far more efficient method of retaining water, allowing Ludicolo to spend periods of time up to a week away from a source of water.
This pokemon's most famous habit, however, must be its habit of dancing. This is due to its heartrate being influenced by rapid beats, like Lombre's alarm call. In the presence of music, adrenaline and sugars are released into the pokemon's bloodstream, inciting a rush of energy meant for defense of its home. While domestic Ludicolo do enjoy this period of heightened activity, overexposure can cause problems with the pokemon's circulatory system. Therefore it is recommended that you remove your pokemon from the sound if it begins to tire.
Lotad are often mistaken for lilypads, as they spend almost all of their time floating just beneath the surface, photosynthesising for food. These quiet creatures may even be seen gathered in slack water areas within rivers, huddled together to resist the current.
Lombre are seldom seen during the day, but can be seen during the early morning and late evening either swimming or ambling along the banks. During the day, Lombre retreat to dens dug into the soil, then covered over with vegetation. During breeding season, Lotad eggs may be found tucked into a concealed corner.
Ludicolo are understandably rare outside of captivity, but wild specimens can possibly be seen near large populations of their pre-evolutions, dozing just beneath the water's surface. They, like Lombre, become more active at night, and will venture away from their homes to browse on larger woody plants. Many old-growth lakeside forests in Hoenn host a relatively substantial population of these pokemon.
An important note for anyone spending time or living near a lake in which this line is known to live is the attractiveness of human settlements to this pokemon. While this is usually attributed to this line's love of play, it is more likely to be due to the lake of predators than any desire for company. If you happen to find either Lotad or Lombre in your garden, simply call the local pokemon authorities. In the case of a Ludicolo, simply wait and turn off any music playing, and the pokemon will leave after eating its fill.
Herbivourous creatures, the lotad line rely on a mixture of photosynthesis and plant material for food. Lotad hardly eat at all, their large lilypad-like leaves giving them all the nutrition they need to develop. Lombre may also photosynthesize, but due to their nocturnal lifestyle feed on both aquatic and lakeside plants, being especially partial to aquatic mosses. Ludicolo, due to their furry skin, are unable to photosynthesize, instead spending most of their time awake eating. While still preferring aquatic plants, Ludicolo may wander from their territorial lakes to browse woody or terrestrial vegetation.
Despite, as stated above, being generally amiable pokemon, there are a number of things to be cautious about when dealing with members of this line. Lombre's claws are capable of inflicting quite a nasty wound if left untreated, and their slime is quite toxic when ingested. Lombre's habit of startling people, while not dangerous by itself, can lead to any number of dangerous situations, especially around its preferred, watery habitats.
Ludicolo, being a large pokemon, can be quite boisterous, capable of breaking bones if startled or allowed to get too out of hand. For this reason, it is recommended to not allow drums, bass guitars or rock concerts near your Ludicolo, as their increased heartrate will encourage them to greater activity.
On the whole, the greatest danger posed by these pokemon to humans is their tendency to forget that children cannot breathe underwater. Though due to mandatory swimming and training lessons the rate of drowning has dropped steeply over the past decade, families with toddlers or children below schoolgoing age are advised not to let their Lotad evolve until their children and pokemon understand water safety, or another reliable person or pokemon is present.
Courting and Childrearing
While both Lotad and Ludicolo are capable of reproduction, breeding in the wild is done by Lombre. At the beginning of spring, male Lombre will start decorating their nests with brightly-coloured objects, including pilfered fishing lures. The male will supplement this with dance-like displays, meant to show off his strength and agility.
These displays can become brawls between males, if a male sets up his nest too close to another. Females are also known to fight, especially if a male puts on an impressive display. Combat is usually nonfatal, resulting in little more than chipped leaves and bruised egos.
After mating, the female will retire to her own nest, where she will lay two to four Lotad eggs in a specially prepared, damp corner. These eggs incubate for two weeks under a mat of vegetation. When the eggs hatch, the female will carry her offspring to the nearest body of water, where she will release them. [TRAINER'S NOTE: A breeding female will defend any Lotad, not just her own. It is therefore recommended to capture Lotad during the late summer or early autumn.]
The young Lotad will spend approximately a year in the basic stage, after which they will evolve.
Lotad and Lombre form colonies in lakes and rivers all around Hoenn, filling a similar ecological niche to the Poliwag line of Kanto and Johto. At any time, the colony can consist of up to a hundred Lombre and their offspring. There is no strict role definitions, all members of the colony defending and helping each other as necessary. Neither is there any needless sentimentality, though; once a member of the colony is caught, either by a predator or trainer, the colony will scatter.
Ludicolo will only appear in large or well established colonies, where they play the role of guardians to their earlier evolutions. Summoned by the clacking of a Lombre's beak, all the Ludicolo in a particular colony will respond to drive off the intruder. It is not uncommon to see a Ludicolo surrounded by Lotad that will hang onto the large pokemon for protection and stability in the current.
So? Comments, criticisms?
I'm obviously such a cuddly,inoffensive soul.