Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
- Bulbasaur [#001]
- Ivysaur [#002]
- Venusaur [#003]
Bulbasaur are pudgy, quadrupedal Pokémon, roughly 16 inches long before approaching evolution. Their body is wide and flattened, with both amphibian and reptilian features- they possess rough, warty skin, as well as small fangs, and have three claws on each foot.
A 12-inch plant bulb structure is fused to the Pokémon's back, and develops quickly after hatching. However, all of their skin, not just their plant half, contains chloroplasts; the presence of chlorophyll and, oddly, phycoerythrocyanin, gives their skin a blue-green hue. Darker spots containing higher pigment density are commonly scattered around the skin. A minority of individuals lack the phycoerythrocyanin gene, giving them a greener coloration. Bulbasaur can often be found lying in the sun so that both it and the bulb can photosynthesize. They occasionally can be seen walking on their hind legs.
Ivysaur largely resemble Bulbasaur in body structure, though, at around 3 feet long, are nearly twice the size. The main distinction of note between the two morphs is the development of the Bulbasaur's bulb into a large, colorful bud surrounded radially by leaves, though their fangs have become proportionately longer as well. Ivysaur can no longer walk on its hind legs due to the weight of the bud on its back.
Fully mature Venusaur grow past 6 feet in length, and have an even wider stance (and stockier bone structure) to better support their plant half, which has bloomed into a large flower with a distinctive fragrance. Interestingly enough, the flowers vary in symmetry- most members exhibit sixfold symmetry, but a sizable minority (including most domestic lines in Johto and Hoenn) display fivefold symmetry instead.
The plant on the back of a Bulbasaur would appear at first glance to be a symbiotic partner (The bulb grants Bulbasaur its Grass-type moves and abilities and the bulb draws nutrients from the Pokémon's back); however, initial DNA testing revealed that the bulb is in fact genetically identical to its host. Further genetic study has begun, and it was quickly found that the Bulbasaur genome can be divided into typically reptilian and typically angiosperm halves. This was at first thought to be the most extreme known example of embryonic cellular differentiation, but in fact turns out to be present in most Grass types to some extent.
The division is not total, of course; Bulbasaur leaves and vines contain low concentrations of nerves wired into their central nervous system, and their skin hosts active chloroplasts.
Their plant half produces the varied afflictive spores typical among Grass-types. In addition, a pair of prehensile vines grow from the plant-animal junction. These vines have surprisingly efficient coiling; it is not uncommon for a Bulbasaur to have a ten-foot striking distance, and the evolved forms have correspondingly longer ranges.
Well-raised individuals eventually begin producing modified chloroplasts, which can rapidly convert energy stored in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) back into light in a directed manner; while these structures are normally used for Flash moves to stun potential predators, experienced Saurs can develop the technique into their famous "Solar Beam" move.
While stress is never healthy for any creature, it can be striking how a Bulba/Ivy/Venusaur's plant component responds to psyche trauma—the stress hormones cause the plant to enter a hibernation state, withering as it does so. The resulting crash in photosynthesis has a further adverse effect on the animal half's condition. While individuals suffering depressive spirals may tend to sulk and hide, it is important to ensure they remain exposed to the therapeutic effect of direct sunlight. Bulbasaur is otherwise considered to be a loyal and very well-behaved Pokémon and the easiest Kanto starter to train.
Bulbasaur are scarce in the wild; they are native to Kanto and prefer warm, humid areas rich in vegetation. They don't seem particularly bound to any one spot; individuals are often tracked through forests, along riverbanks, and across plains and grasslands near freshwater lakes alike.
Elder Venusaur will tend to settle down in a small area eventually.
Bulbasaur, etc., are almost entirely herbivorous, while their energy needs are heavily supplemented by photosynthesized sugars and starches. As an interesting side effect of their photosynthesis, Bulbasaur do not tend to have any preferential attraction to sugary food, or indeed any sort of food, requiring more creative motivation when training.
In extremely rare cases, members of the line may attempt to eat bugs, or even more rarely, rodents such as Rattata. Generally, though, they are among the last Pokémon to be affected by a food shortage.
In rare cases, the plant half may die due to disease or severe injury; in such a situation, the Pokémon will have to be transitioned to a more substantial diet. Due to the limited digestive systems of the Bulbasaur line, such a diet must be carefully planned; generally speaking, sugars and starches will make up the bulk of the diet, but one should consult a Pokémon Center for more details.
While the line does have fangs, they seem to be primarily used for intimidation- they are not known to initiate attack. Indeed, they are one of the most docile Pokémon to keep around the home, and happily spend the bulk of their day lounging by sunlit windows.
However, while not aggressive, they are still dangerous to keep unsupervised around children or inquisitive Pokémon- when startled, Bulbasaur and younger Ivysaur instinctively release poison spores. In addition, their leaves contain toxins and are easily chewed on.
And, when one has finally become infuriated, they are quite willing to bring their dehabilitating powders to bear, as well as bludgeonings from their body and vines. Stronger individuals can launch Razor Leaf attacks, fire streams of Bullet Seeds (particularly effective against aerial attackers), and the occasional SolarBeam, too.
If someone is exposed to their toxin, call poison control immediately. Fortunately, the standard Antidote collection found in most first-aid kits includes appropriate antitoxins.
When outside, Venusaur will often attract Beedrill. Fortunately, trainers will be encountering such Beedrill in a foraging context rather than an intrusion context; remain calm and avoid sudden movements, and the Beedrill will move on after collecting nectar and pollen. Also, regardless of form, Heracross may be attracted by the scent made by the bulb and the nectar it contains.
Courting and Childrearing
All stages are fertile, although Bulbasaur rarely concieve offspring out of captivity. Mates attract each other by releasing pheromones via their buds/flowers. During mating, the male's plant releases pollen spores, which are collected by the female. Genetic surveys have not yet determined whether the pollen provides any genetic contribution to the offspring.
Regardless of whether they are determined by animal or plant gametes, Venusaur flower patterns do follow Mendelian inheritance.
Bulbasaur eggs are concealed in thickets near water and a well-lit location, then casually defended by any 'saurs that happen to remain in the vicinity. Newly hatched Bulbasaur are only cared for long enough to be drilled out of paying more attention than necessary to their fellows, and soon learn to seek sunlight and minerals on their own. Parents rarely recognize familial bonds.
The Bulbasaur line forms a rigid, but in practice casual, hierarchy in the wild. An elder Venusaur in a territory has command over the local Ivysaur and Bulbasaur, and the Bulbasaur defer to the Ivysaur.
At yearly intervals, wild Bulbasaur prepared for evolution will congregate at one location, often under the eye of a elder Venusaur, and evolve synchronously. It is thought that this ritual keeps them safer from predators during the acclimation period to their new form.
Beyond this ritual, they do not frequently interact with each other. Evolved forms will step in to protect members of their species from attack, but don't actively guard them. This is often considered a social pathology of the wild Bulbasaur culture, since captive-raised Bulbasaur will eagerly form bonds with their caretakers and their own children.
In Human Culture
The Bulbasaur line have been a traditional housepet in the Kanto region for millenia, for two simple reasons. They are easy to care for, requiring significantly less food than most Pokémon of their size, so long as adequate water and sunlight are provided. Also, they make effective guards for homes and gardens, being easily able to incapacitate intruders.
Thus, they are a popular starter Pokémon for Kanto trainers, able to dissuade most threats while possessing generally amicable natures.
They have found a practical role in theater as well. Their powders are involved in many traditional stage effects, and their vines are used for hoisting props and sets to achieve other effects.