Morphs [Oak Catalogue #]
- Paras [#046]
- Parasect [#047]
There is an argument among biologists regarding which is the Pokémon here - the poor arthropod or the tochukaso-like fungus growing on the creature's back. Tests have shown that neither can live without the other - the fungus does not grow on any other Pokémon, not even the Paras line's closest relative, the Nincada, and the host creature has come to depend on the fungus to add extra protection.
The fungus grows on the back of the host from birth. It is a symbiotic relationship, weighed heavily in favour of the fungus - the fungus has a platform to move around on, claws to defend itself with, and a handy place to get nutrients from. What the host seems to get from this are spores to drive off large predators.
Eventually, the fungus grows so big that any nutrients that the host takes goes directly to the fungus, and the host is only a little more than a chitinous puppet [Trainer Note: Using a daily dose of a specially modified version of the Antidote, available from all good Pokémarts, can slow down this growth]. Minimal brain activity has been recorded, the Parasect acting totally on the primal urge of "eat". The fungus can sustain itself almost indefinitely as long as there are enough nutrients around. This has given rise to the idea that the fungus has some health properties. While the defensive spores of the Paras family are used in local anesthetics, any evidence that they increase longevity or just general health has not been uncovered.
One question Parasect researchers are often asked is 'what is underneath the cap?' The answer is a pulpy mess of dissolved chitin and organs, with the fungi's hyphae branching into it, replacing the host's vital organs and much of the nervous system.
The Paras line must live in dark, damp climates like caves and large temperate forests, although the best place for them would be a tropical rainforest.
Paras are usually found on tree roots, taking in nutrients from there. The Pokémon could spend its entire time as a Paras on a tree with particularly big roots.
Parasect are more demanding, swarming entire trees en masse until the trees are dry husks.
As mentioned above, they can wreak hell in forested areas, killing a large number of trees in a very short space of time. As such, Paras colonies are regularly culled to bring them down to a manageable number.
Note that the spores of the Paras line are for the most part defensive, and will not cause any lasting harm as long as treatment with an Antidote or Paralyze Heal is given in a timely manner. The spores are not known to affect humans beyond numbness or slight nausea.
Despite its popularity for being the origins of zombies in recent films (apt though it may be, given its affect on the host) and a popular (though debunked by Snopes) urban legend, there is no verifiable evidence that the breeding spores (see below) has any affect on any other creature than the host species.
Before partially disabling the brain, one of the last acts of the fungus is apparently to fertilize the eggs in the egg sac of the host. This was discovered totally by accident after researchers dissected what they thought was a Parasect (the cap had nearly engulfed the body), but found that the brain was largely untouched. The eggs, however, were fertilized.
It seems as though that the fungus infects the eggs, mutating the cells to stop the offspring from being perfect clones. When the brain is finally infected, a biochemical signal is sent to the egg sac, causing the creature to lay the eggs in the tree that the Parasect colony is currently eating from. Many eggs are frequently eaten in the process, but this is of little concern, as hundreds of thousands of eggs are laid.
When they hatch a few days later, the colony has moved on, leaving a dead tree with millions of breeding spores that the fungus deposited while eating. Those spores will then infect the hatchlings, which it will then direct to find a new tree to feast on.
Paras live in colonies of hundreds, moving from tree to tree.
Written by Haseri.