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Adaptation Species Change
aka: Adaptational Species Change

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A bird on the shoulder is worth a guy wearing a hat.

You read a book about a hero and his faithful pet, but when the book is adapted to film, the hero's pet has been changed into a different species. This is what's known as an Adaptation Species Change.

In the case of domestic animals, especially dogs, there can be an adaptation breed change.

May be part of Pragmatic Adaptation in live action movies and TV shows if the original species was either rare, dangerous, just not easy to work with, there was something else similar handy instead, or the original species was fictional to begin with.

This trope may also apply with the live-action adaptation of a work which has a Talking Animal character, with said animal turned into a human, specially in adaptations for theatre or low budget movies that can't count on CGI or animatronics.

See also Dub Species Change, when this happens in a dub of a work rather than a new adaptation. Compare: Adaptation Name Change, Adaptation Dye-Job, Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation, and Race Lift, where the character remains the same species (human), but a different type of human. Can be the result of Demythification and Doing In the Wizard if the adaptation is trying to be more "realistic" than the work it was based off.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • In the Toyota ReBorn commercials which feature the cast of Doraemon, Doraemon is Jean Reno instead of an anthropomorphic robot cat.
  • The 80s iteration of Freakies cereal turned the Freakies, originally monsters in their original 70s designs, into aliens. Retro-skewing merchandise and extended bios would return them to being monsters, ignoring the alien phase altogether.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • The EVA Units from Neon Genesis Evangelion are engineered biological entities with mechanical parts and armor in the original show and movies, but in the more comedic Petit Eva series, EVA-01 is a straight-up robot.
    • Somewhat in the case of Asuka in the Rebuild of Evangelion films. The original Asuka was, albeit a "designer baby", a naturally-born human. The Asuka of Rebuild is part of a series of clones similar to Rei.
  • In the original Cutey Honey series, Cutey Honey herself was a Ridiculously Human Robot. In the Shoujo adaptation Cutey Honey Flash, she is a human.
  • Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin:
    • In the manga, Rin is a Japanese pine marten that attacks the Kai brothers when they're puppies, wounding them before Ben rescues them. But in the anime adaptation, Rin is a feral dog instead.
    • Downplayed by breed in the sequel manga Ginga Densetsu Weed, where there are two English Foxhounds that trail Weed and his pack only to get killed off by Jerome. In the anime, they got changed to Doberman Pinscher brothers named Thunder and Lector. But there is a hint of the Foxhounds still being used over from the manga, one reporting to Hougen that Jet and Missile the Borzois (Rocket's brothers) had failed in their mission to assassinate Weed.
  • The Godzilla of Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is a Planimal, not a dinosaur like most other versions.
  • In the OVA of Kujibiki♡Unbalance, Alex is a human character. In the TV series, he's a dog (and also the current student council secretary).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • One of the first The Legend of Zelda manga was loosely based on the first game. The lore of the series was not as elaborate as it later became, and thus the Hylians are referred to as elves. In manga, Link is a half-elf half-human child instead of (presumably) being full Hylian.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: The comic and manga adaptations depict the Hyrule soldiers not as possessed humans, but as monsters or suits of Animated Armor.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In the original Naruto (1997) pilot, Naruto is a kitsune with a human Shapeshifter Default Form, and the son of the deceased Nine-Tailed Fox. In Naruto, Naruto is human, and the still-living Nine-Tailed Fox is sealed within him.
  • In the original Show by Rock!! game, Cyan was a typical myumon. The 2015 anime has her start out as a human named Shian Hijirikawa, only becoming a myumon while trapped in MIDI City.
  • Lola and Layla in Venus Versus Virus are normal girls with psychic powers in the manga but ageless, artificial humans in the anime.
  • In the original Bubblegum Crisis, Mackie was human. Tokyo 2040 changes him into a Boomer.
  • Samurai Pizza Cats: In the Japanese version the villain is a fox named Kitsunezuka Ko'on, but the English localization referred to him as a rat and renamed him Seymour Cheese.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Strips 
  • In one of Dick Tracy's many, many cameos by other comic characters since Staton and Curtis took over, Dick gets a phone call from Usagi Yojimbo's Inspector Ishida. Since Dick Tracy is not a World of Funny Animals, this version of Ishida is human.

    Films — Animation 
  • Balto: The movie is Very Loosely Based on a True Story about the titular Heroic Dog. In real life, Balto was a purebred Siberian Husky, while in the movie, he's half wolf, which his Character Arc hinges on.
  • Bambi: The novel's Bambi was a roe deer in (presumably) Austria, but Disney made Bambi a white-tailed deer in Maine because the latter species was more familiar to American audiences note  .
  • In the original Basil of Baker Street books, Professor Ratigan was implied to have been a mouse or a "big mouse." In the Disney movie The Great Mouse Detective, his species is changed to a rat to be more in line with his last name. Doesn't keep him from being in denial of his species though.
    • In the original Sherlock Holmes books, and in most other adaptations, Toby is a bloodhound, but in the Disney movie, he is a Basset hound.
  • Batman: Assault on Arkham: King Shark is made into an augmented cyborg with tough skin and metallic jaws instead of a half-human/half-shark demigod.
  • In The Call of the Wild, Buck was a Saint Bernard/Scotch Collie mix, but an animated adaptation distributed by GoodTimes made him a German Shepherd.
  • DC League of Super-Pets has Ace the Bat-Hound as a Boxer rather than a German Shepherd or Great Dane, Wonder Woman's pet being the pig PB rather than the kangaroo-like Jumpa, and Chip is an ordinary Earth squirrel that gains electricity powers, in contrast to Ch'p in the comics being a Green Lantern Corpsman who is a member of a race of squirrel-like aliens called H'lvenites.
  • The Felidae film changes the breeds of several of the cats from the book. For example, Felicity in the book is a Russian Blue, but she doesn't fit the Breed Standard in the film (being long-haired instead of short-furred).
  • In Flatland: The Movie, the women of Flatland are the same shapes as the men, rather than simply lines.
  • Gnomeo & Juliet: In addition to everyone becoming a sentient garden gnome, the Nurse is a frog fountain, Friar Laurence is a plastic flamingo, and Balthasar is a small mushroom that doesn't speak.
  • In the original How to Train Your Dragon books, Toothless was a tiny Common Dragon. In the film, he is now a Night Fury, a rare and powerful dragon type. The books later retconned him into being a young Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus, a powerful, rare type of dragon like the Night Fury.
  • In Justice League Dark, Black Orchid is the physical manifestation of the House of Mystery, in contrast the comics, where she was a human woman who developed superpowers as the result of a military experiment involving the Green.
  • Justice League: Gods and Monsters and its tie-in media made Giganta into a Humongous Mecha and Brainiac into a genetically engineered little boy.
  • Justice League X RWBY: Super Heroes and Huntsmen sees the members of the JLA transported to Remnant. As such, Batman and Vixen are changed into Faunus patterned after a bat and a fox, respectively.
  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole:
    • Otulissa and Strix Struma were spotted owls in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole books, but they've become short-eared owls in the movie. This is most likely because of wanting to make the owls have expressive eyes and faces.
    • The High Tyto before Kludd (Metal Beak in this movie, while Metal Beak is saved for Kludd). He was a barn owl in the books, but is a sooty owl in the movie. The irony is that the owl whose species is low in the Pure Ones ranks is the leader of said Pure Ones.
  • Moana: Tamatoa is a giant crab, while in actual Polynesian legend he's a headless warrior.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): In the somewhat obscure G1 comic where he first appeared, the Storm King was a burly, troll-like humanoid. In the movie, since there aren't supposed to be any humans or human-like creatures in the G4 world, he was portrayed as a yeti-like creature with satyr-like hooves.
  • For whatever reason, The New Adventures Of Peter Rabbit changes Tommy Brock from a Bad Ol' Badger to a grouchy hedgehog, which makes it rather confusing that he’s treated like some sort of threat to the rabbit protagonists.
  • In the original Peter Pan, Nana is a Newfoundland, but in the Disney adaptation, she is a Saint Bernard.
  • In Pinocchio Monstro is a huge, aggressive whale that swallows people whole. In the original book the sea monster is a "terrible dogfish" (that is, a shark).
  • Princess Arete: Grovel is a frog turned Boax's Familiar instead of a human servant whom Boax turns into a frog when Arete completes all three of her Impossible Tasks.
  • In Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, the ghost Phantasma's father is clearly based on the eponymous character of The Phantom of the Opera (1925), but is reimagined as an actual ghost rather than a disfigured living man.
  • In Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, the titular dog, Sergeant Stubby, appears to be a Boxer as opposed to a mixed "bully" breed in real-life.
  • The book that Shrek is based on simply describes Shrek as a monster, doesn't say which kind. The movie on the other hand explicitly describes him as an ogre.
  • In The Snow Queen, the titular queen is heavily implied to be of The Fair Folk. In Frozen, Elsa is a human who was born with the ability to create and manipulate ice and snow.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs' original Tarzan stories:
    • Sabor was a lioness, but in Disney's Tarzan, she was changed to a leopardess. note 
    • The apes Tarzan lived with weren't gorillas, but a fictional species of ape (or hominid?) called mangani. The mangani were mortal enemies of the bolgani (the mangani's blanket term for gorillas).
    • In the original books, Tarzan has a monkey sidekick named Nkima, but in the classic films and live action TV show he has a chimp sidekick named Cheeta. The gorilla Terk from the Disney adaptation is loosely based on them.
  • Treasure Planet is Treasure Island IN SPACE; as such, the only human characters are Jim and his parents, while everyone else is some kind of alien (or robot, occasionally). It even extends to the animals, with the Trope Codifier for Pirate Parrot changed to a blobby creature named Morph, who can imitate your shape as well as your words.
  • While in Norse Mythology Thor was the love-child between the god Odin and Jord, Giantess that embodied Midgard, in Legends of Valhalla: Thor he is half-human.

  • In Anno Dracula, nearly all supernatural beings are actually vampire variants, whether the original source has them as werewolves, demons, aliens or youkai. Multiple characters who were human but either nearly-superhumanly skilled or actually superpowered in the source material are also vampires, ranging from Biggles to Captain Scarlet.
  • In "The Merchant's Tale" from The Canterbury Tales, Pluto and Proserpina, gods of Classical Mythology, are now The Fair Folk.
  • In the novelization to Labyrinth, the goblin announcing that Sarah and the gang have reached the castle refers to Hoggle as a gnome rather than a dwarf.
  • The novelization to Men in Black is an Early Draft Tie-In where a second race called the Baltians have joined the Arauillians in threatening to destroy Earth. The tiny aliens piloting Mobile Suit Humans are now called Baltians instead of Arauillians.
  • Something similar to the Canterbury Tales example happens in the 14th century poem Sir Orfeo, a Setting Update of the myth of Orpheus and Euridyce, which replaced Hades with an unnamed "king of the Otherworld".
  • In The Hidden History of Oz series by Tarl Telford, Glinda isn't an immortal fairy like in Baum canon. She starts out as a human teenager and the daughter of a sorceress.
  • Jack and the Beanstalk: Many versions feature a hen instead of a goose. A few replace the giant with an ogre.
  • The Wicked Years changes a few characters species from the Land of Oz series. For example, Glinda the Good Witch is a fairy however in Wicked she is a normal mortal human who studied magic.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey was orginally a Twilight fanfiction titled Master of the Universe that employed Adaptational Mundanity. As such, Edward Cullen and the rest of the Cullen family (who became Christian Grey and the Trevelyan-Grey family) are humans rather than vampires; the same goes for several supporting characters. Jacob, who became Jose, isn't a werewolf. And Bella/Ana and Edward/Christian's child isn't a dhampir, nor does Bella/Ana end up becoming a vampire.
  • When Dark Horse Comics first released the comics that'd be the basis for Aliens (Steve Perry Trilogy), they were able to use Ripley, Hicks, and Newt. Then Alienł happened, complete with the fates of Ripley, Hicks, and Newt — and later rereleases of the comics, as well as the books, replaced Hicks and Newt with Suspiciously Similar Substitutes and, relevant to this trope, replaced Ripley with a gynoid who just thought she was Ellen Ripley.
  • In The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, it's a plot point that Snow White's evil stepmother was a member of the same Mage Species as the evil fairy who cursed Sleeping Beauty. In the original version of "Snow White", and most adaptations, there's no indication that the evil queen isn't human.
  • At one point in The Divine Comedy, Dante and Virgil find Nimrod deep in Hell for the crime of creating the Tower Of Babel. He's described as a 30 foot tall giant. In the original story of The Bible there's nothing to indicate he's anything other than a normal-size human.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days: Frank's childhood pet Nutty is a cat in the webcomic, but a dog in this book.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In some tellings, Durga rides on an Asiatic lion. In others, she rides on a tiger. Either way, a Cool Mount.
  • Some hypotheses root Sun Wukong in early Chinese gibbon chasing stories. If this is the case then he most assuredly is not depicted as a gibbon anymore, being more well known as the Monkey King. He is also accepted to have some inspiration from Hanuman, which also counts since Hanuman is sometimes accepted to be a specific type of mythological monkey.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas , one of Emmet's bandmates is a raccoon called Wendell Coon. In the Jim Henson adaptation, he becomes Wendell Porcupine. This may have been due to the Unfortunate Implications of the word "coon".
  • In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, Toto is a king prawn instead of a dog. Justified, since after Dorothy ends up in Oz, Toto is played by Pepe. Pre-tornado, he's seen as an actual prawn in a goldfish bowl. This trope is averted with the Cowardly Lion, though: he's still a lion, even though his "actor," Fozzie, is a bear.

  • In the stage adaptation of the Disney animated feature Aladdin:
    • Jafar's sidekick Iago is a human instead of a parrot.
    • Aladdin's pet monkey Abu is also replaced with three human companions called Babkak, Kassim and Omar who were present in early drafts of the movie before Abu was thought of.
  • In A dzsungel könyve, a Hungarian stage adaptation of The Jungle Book, Chil is a vulture instead of a kite.
  • In the play adaptations of LazyTown, Sportacus is depicted as an elf instead of a human.
  • The Little Mermaid changes Flotsam and Jetsam from moray eels (as in The Little Mermaid (1989)) to electric eels (psycho ones, at that).
  • Pinocchio: The Musical replaces the fishes who turned Pinocchio back from a donkey to a puppet with mermaids.
  • The 1902 stage adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz replaced Toto the dog with Imogen the Cow.
  • Sonic: Live in Sydney changed Princess Sally from a chipmunk to a marsupial, as there are no native chipmunks in Australia.
  • Orpheus's lover Eurydice is traditionally a dryad, or tree nymph, in the myths, while in Orpheus: A Poetic Drama she's a nereid, or water nymph.

    Theme Parks 
  • "Pinocchio Unstrung," Knott's Scary Farm's horror maze adaptation that turns Pinocchio into an insane murderous fiend, turns Monstro the whale into an anglerfish. He works with Pinocchio to eat the guests.

  • For reasons known only to the North American branch of Epoch, the Walnuts Squirrel family in the Sylvanian Families toys and anime range are marketed as Chipmunks. They were previously marketed as squirrels under the Furbanks family however, but then an renaming exercise took place on the non-Japanese branches and this happened (the International English branches chose to sync the family name with the Japanese family name but gave them first names, in the original Japanese market they do not have first names). Their family name was also changed to Hazelnut, but that's a different trope.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 

    Real Life 
  • The American holiday of Groundhog Day, when groundhogs are alleged to emerge from hibernation and either retreat back underground or stay depending on the weather to come, has its basis in similar European traditions, including an Irish "Hedgehog Day" custom. But there are no hedgehogs native to North America, so an alternative small burrowing mammal was substituted.
  • Rome's eagle, originally a symbol of Zeus, is a golden eagle, also called "royal eagle" in some languages. Its use as a symbol was continued by several European states that claimed to be successors of Rome. When the United States gained independence, they deliberately chose an eagle symbol as a throwback to Rome, but made it a bald eagle, a species only found in North America. The United States does have golden eagles, but they aren't found on the east coast, where the original American colonies were located.

Alternative Title(s): Adaptational Species Change