I contacted Isotrope, the guy who apparently wrote the original Slugma article, a couple of weeks ago. Since I've gotten no response, I thought I'd post my updated take on this entry:
Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
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 is constantly glowing due to the unique nature of its circulatory system (see below). Slugma constantly glows a deep, rich red-orange, most noticeably in the dark. When they are exposed to considerable amounts of moisture, it evaporates instantly, bursting into steam and fog. Despite their slow speed and bodies, they are always moving. Rare cases are reported where Slugma take on a grey coloration; this may be due to impurities in their silicate bodies.
o The next stage in Slugma's life is distinguishable by a large, bulky "shell" of hardened skin stationed upon its back, which is in fact skin that hardens as it cools, with internal organs and circulatory systems that extend well into the heart of the shell. Pieces of this shell are constantly flaking and breaking off, often leaving a trail of soot-like debris in the Magcargo's wake. Flames will occasionally erupt from gaps in the shell as new skin grows and hardens on contact with air, causing the "shell" to constantly renew itself The rare "impurity" morphs are notable for varying shades of blue and purple.
Slugma and Magcargo are almost unique among Pokemon in that they have material other than blood in their circulatory systems. While some Pokemon species do not have circulatory systems at all (such as the Grimer and Magnemite species), the Slugma species is the only one to have real, actual lava flowing through its veins. Based on autopsies of deceased specimens, these creatures are primarily composed of silicate matter and various other amounts of igneous materials and minerals that vary by location. This would account for the Rock-type characteristics that the species exhibits upon evolution, and also possibly for the fact that these creatures do not seem to need to have their magma "blood" circulate oxygen, water or glucose circulated through their bodies the way blood does for humans and the vast majority of Pokemon species.
Living specimens have been shown to be very hot to the touch, well above 100 degrees Celsius, as evidenced by water being turned into steam on contact. Some species also sometimes cause serious burns on contact. However, autopsies of deceased specimens have found that their internal temperatures are considerably hotter, with some calculations suggesting that live specimens may have internal temperatures as high as 18,000 degrees Farenheit, at least when they evolve to the Magcargo stage. However, it must be emphasized that this is only a calculation, as Slugma rapidly cool when they stop moving, a trait that is only accelerated by death.
Further analysis has also shown that Slugma's skin is both extremely flexible and extremely resistant to damage. In part, this accounts for their ability to move comfortably through the often rocky and rough terrain they inhabit, but it is also shown to be highly effective in regulating their external body temperature. Further evidence of this is demonstrated by a Slugma's evolution into a Magcargo. Evolution causes a Slugma's internal temperature to rise even more than before, and the newly evolved Magcargo hardens a large portion of its skin into a shell that cools on contact with air, before weakening and breaking off. Skin and heat are constantly disposed of both through the cooled skin and the flames that occasionally erupt as new skin grows in, allowing the Magcargo to regulate its temperature of its body.
Finally, one may note that Slugma and Magcargo do not sleep. This allows them to continuously circulate the magma within their bodies, as they will start to cool if they stop moving. In combination with their growing shells, the constant motion allows Slugma to maintain homeostasis in regards to their body temperature.
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.
A Slugma or Magcargo heavy with eggs will display them in large, thick bubbles upon its shell 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. It has been suggested that Slugma travel through the Earth's mantle to reach new areas, although this only rarely done, possibly due to the need to maintain homeostasis in their bodies.
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-trainers have reported that their Slugma will slowly walk around campfires or even on hot stoves, relishing the heat even if they do not consume it.
Slugma are not recommended for beginning trainers. Touching them can cause painful, although rarely fatal, burns, and trainers may also be burned by the occasional burst of flame from a Magcargo's shell. However, they can be caught and stored in Poke Balls like any other Pokemon, and can be perfectly safe if the trainer knows how to handle them. Although the hot air around lava flows and volcanoes
can prove very painful and even fatal to humans, the species' flexible and durable skins, as well as the shells developed by Magcargos, allows them to regulate their internal temperatures so that they generally pose no hazard to their surroundings unless actually touched. Trainers can use this to their advantage in Pokemon battles, as some Slugma can cause burns to any opponent that physically contacts them while attacking, while others will immediately thaw out of any attempt to freeze them.
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.
I find that this meshes much better with both the canon material (e.g., the Pokedex entries about Slugma not sleeping) and also better incorporates various elements of the style guide, such as incorporating game quirks, and it being much more consistent with what we see in the games, anime and so forth. Once again, I tried contacting Isotroper, and I got nothing in reply.
edited 5th Jul '14 7:17:08 PM by GordonSchumway