Gotta Spot Them All: 10 Pokemon Inspired by Real Underwater Creatures

Blog Covers (3)Ok, we get that not everyone is on the Pokémon train. It’s silly, immature and people are running around while staring at their phones trying to ‘capture’ imaginary animals. I can live with that. 13681830_10208862001160725_202677372_oBut I can’t say that my VAPOREON fully agrees.

You see, Vaporeon is a highly evolved, intellectually superior water Pokémon who isn’t just in it for the frills. He’s more of a numbers guy. And he’s got some facts to back up his game. He didn’t get to CP1861 by just tweeting ridiculous comments about the latest cultural obsession. (Here’s looking at you, Kanye.)

He’ll have you know that:

  1. In just a week after its launch, Pokémon Go sent Nintendo’s stock skyrocketing by adding 7.5 billion dollars – the largest stock jump since 1983.
  2. Nintendo has seen more than $9bn (£6.9bn) added to the company’s market value as investors see the huge potential.
  3. In the United States, on iPhones alone, Pokémon Go makes about 1.6 million dollars per day.
  4. Pokémon  Go officially became more popular than porn when more people started searching for it since July 11 on Google.
  5. And most importantly, Since its release, Pokémon Go has been downloaded by more than 50 million users and the count is still rising. 

Long story short: Don’t like Pokémon? That’s cool. This post is for those other 50 million people.

Gili Lawa Darat is great for Pokemon!

But maybe you haven’t been caught by the big Pokeball in the sky…yet. As a diver, we spend a lot of time ‘catching’ sightings of rare animals. Pokémon is no different. And before you say “BUT POKEMON IS IMAGINARY”, here’s a list of 10 Pokémon inspired by real marine animals that may just open your eyes to a super badass creature that you never really knew existed. You can thank us later.

*Extreme Pokémon fans: please don’t inundate this post with angry comments because I listed a fire Pokémon as something from the water. The Pokémon Gods are not marine biologists. Cut them some slack. PLUS, POLIWRATH HYPNOTISED ME AND MADE ME DO IT.

1. Blastoise, the Leatherback Turtle


Ok, so we’re starting a little obvious here. We all know that the famous Pokémon is a turtle, but what kind? Well, it’s obviously a Leatherback. Do you see the size of that thing? Much like Schwarzenegger Turtle on the left, Leatherbacks range in size from 1.2 – 2.4 meters in length and weigh between 225-900kg. Woof. Plus, both are packing a punch when it comes to being terrifying looking. Don’t agree? Can we get a zoom on this thing?


That, my friend, is what nightmares are made of. Don’t worry, it’s just so the harmless Leatherback can guzzle up those delicious jellyfish…and children…

2. Stunfisk, the Stargazer


In addition to sharing an oddly vacant stare (that is an uncanny reminder of Ralph from The Simpsons), these two animals’ flat and broad mud-brown bodies allow them to camouflage themselves on the ocean floor. Both eyes are present on one side of the body Ralph_Wiggumso that they can judge from below with that unapproving, upturned mouth. But don’t just take them for the harmless but cranky neighbour next door: these things are vicious. Stargazers ambush their prey, delivering both venom and electric shocks. The stargazer has been called “the meanest thing in creation” although I feel like the Pokémon creators could’ve tried to have that translate a little more in the Stunfisk’s physiognomy. OR MAYBE THAT WAS THE POINT. A sleeper agent/Pokémon…

3. Skrelp, the Leafy Sea Dragon


In what is this blogger’s favourite rip off of an underwater creature, we have Skrelp. Skrelp not only looks a bit like a disgruntled fairy but is also a spitting image of the Leafy seadragon. Both Skrelp and the seadragon’s leaf-like appendages imitate swaying seaweed, allowing them to hide in plain sight. The Pokémon creators even threw in the Leafy seadragon’s hard-to-see pectoral and dorsal fins. These small fins are almost completely transparent and undulate with just the tiniest amount of movement to propel the seadragon through the water, while not giving up that fetching seaweed disguise. But seriously, back to the disgruntled fairy… or is it more like a caffeine-addled Sherlock Holmes? Your pick.

4. Dewgong, the (surprise!) Dugong


Honestly? Not going to even change the pronunciation? Someone at Pokémon HQ had a few too many Joss the night before. We digress. Both Dewgong and Dugong (can we call them Duwgong for short?) are native to the tropical coastal waters of the Indian Ocean, Red Sea and south-west Pacific Ocean. As the only vegetarians of the sea, you can find these sea cows regularly munchin’ on seagrass. They may have discovered that vegetarianism is they key to a healthy and long life, though, as they live up to 70 years. Fun fact: Dugongs started the legend of mermaids. How drunk must’ve that sailor been? Anyway, some Dugongs started to believe them and this ego-boost turned them into ice queens. The good-looking ones emancipated themselves from the others and insisted on being called Dewgongs. Pushing the differentiation even further, they decided to become carnivores and to live at night. Regular Dugongs completely ignored this rebellion and kept on grazing seagrass.

5. Diglet, the Garden Eel


The diggers, Diglet and Garden eels, are found in large groups popping their heads above the ground. Ever thought the sand looked like had small reeds waving out of it? Yep, Garden eels. (And yes, their resemblance to plants in a garden is where they get their name.) Both the eels and the Pokémon live in burrows in the ground and regularly poke their heads from their burrows to catch food and taunt aspiring Pokémon trainers. The main difference between them is that while Garden Eels have manga eyes and large mouth, Diglets have manga eyes and a large…nose. Gotta love when the animal looks more like a Pokémon than the Pokémon itself.

6. Pikachu, the Thecacera Nudibranch


While some say that Pikachu was modelled off the adorable Pika (a mammal that looks like a small rabbit), we’re going to impolitely disagree. OH HECK NO. HAVE YOU EVEN SEEN THE THECACERA NUDIBRANCH? I mean seriously, what came first? The Pikachu Nudibranch or the Pikachu? It’s a question as old as time. Weird fact you may not have known: Members of the order Nudibranchia are hermaphrodites. Both individuals dart their penis towards each other to induce one to act as a male and the other as the female. The victorious one who is able to penetrate the body wall is the dominant male… Eggs are deposited on a substratum. And we thought humans could get gnarly…

7. Alomomola, the Mola Mola


We’ve mentioned these bad boys before in our previous blog, “10 Bragworthy Underwater Finds”. And yes, we were on that Pokémon craze all the way back in April, call us psychic. We’ll totally take the credit. Just like the infinitely creative developer of “Dewgong”, somebody was sleeping on the job when they named this Pokemon. Both fish are characterised by the lack of a proper tail fin. The Mola mola uses its large dorsal and anal fins to clumsily propel itself through the water column, although its sheer size should add an intimidation factor to your lineup. Its most effective attack move is confusion. You know. Because it looks like a mistake.

8. Paras, the Decorator Crab


The decorator crab uses materials from its environment to hide from or ward off predators. That’s right, they use plants and other organisms to hide! Just like Paras, who is born without the mushrooms, decorator crabs provide an environment where the plants and organisms will grow on their back but can be removed at any time. That being said, Decorator crabs and Paras love their flair. If their shells or appendages are cleaned of their costumes, they will immediately begin to clothe themselves once again. Maybe they’re just modest?

9. Gastrodon, the Nembrotha Kubaryana


For such an intense name, Gastrodon is a pretty cute looking Pokémon. Both Pokémon and animal are found in different variations.  While the Pokémon is either pink or blue (Depending if it’s from East or West Los Angeles), the nudibranch can have either green spots or longitudinal ridges over an ever-present bright orange border. In some specimen, Nembrotha Kubaryana’s rhinophores and gills have orange markings but in others, these are green. Despite their bright colours these (nem)Brothas are quite difficult to spot: Nembrotha Kubaryana reach a max length of 120mm. So keep an eye open for the Crips and Bloods of the sea. 

10. Magby, the Pygmy Sea Horse


What happens when you love Pokémon and diving? You are playing on a dive boat comparing levels of rare Pokémon you’ve caught when you both see it: YOUR FRIEND’S SUPER RARE MAGBY LOOKS JUST LIKE THAT PYGMY WE JUST SAW. And thus, this blog was born.

Besides having an uncanny resemblance, both are irritatingly hard to find. Just like when Magby runs off whenever you throw anything less than a great ball at it, those pygmies turn their back whenever you almost have that perfect camera shot. We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again because it’s so damn cool: Their camouflage is so on point that scientists didn’t even know they existed until accidentally finding one on a sea fan examined in a laboratory in 1969. Yes, Pokémon Superfans, Magby is a fire Pokémon. We know! Now you know how submarine volcanos appear: Mad Magby, tired of paparazzi, using Eruption attack!

So for those of you infected with the Pokémon bug: Get off those phones and check out the real Pokémon in the sea. (and stop by Blue Marlin Gili Trawangan, a Poke Stop!)

And for those of you hating on Pokémon. Haters gonna hate. We just ask that you appreciate… Or at least appreciate where they came from.

And just because we like silly things:

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 12.08.57


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