The clever thing about Pokémon Go is that each different place has Pokémon unique to the area. So people have to travel far and wide to ‘Catch ’em all’. Obviously being an island, on Koh Tao we have a lot of water / scuba diving related Pokémon’s popping up literally all over the place.
So now we’re going to take a look at some of these Pokémon and their real life counterparts that you should add to your Pokedex.
Wanna See A ‘Squirtle’ On Turtle Island?
First of all, one of our firm favourites is ‘Squirtle’. Squirtle is a small, light-blue Pokémon with an appearance similar to that of a turtle. Like turtles, Squirtle has a shell that covers its body with holes that allow its limbs, tail, and head to be exposed. Unlike a turtle, Squirtle is ordinarily bipedal; meaning that it walks on its hind legs.
Squirtle can evolve into Wartortle and then onto Blastoise, getting bigger each time.
Real sea turtles are firm favourites of every diver and are always a treat to see underwater, whether swimming gracefully between the pinnacles of Twins or munching lazily on the bubble corals or white Rock. There are many different species of Sea Turtle, but the most commonly found around the waters of Koh Tao are, starting with the smallest – the Loggerhead, then the Hawksbill and finally the Green turtle that can reach up to 2 meters in length!
Next on our real life Pokedex list is the ‘Mola Mola’ or sometimes called the sunfish. We’ve likened this one to Poliwag. Poliwag is so soft its organs are actually visible. It also has trouble walking on its feet due to its lack of arms which causes it to be unbalanced, contrary to the sunfish which is actually one of the heaviest known bony fish in the world.
So why do have I likened the two? Their shape and big eyes of course. Both are round in shape and have 2 large fins with which the use to move.
Did You Know?
Sunfish can be as tall as they are long when their dorsal and ventral fins are extended. Sunfish live on a diet consisting mainly of jellyfish, but because this diet is nutritionally poor, they consume large amounts to develop and maintain their great bulk. Females of the species can produce more eggs than any other known vertebrate.
Up to 300,000,000 at a time!
Juvenile Sunfish resemble miniature pufferfish, with large pectoral fins, a tail fin, and body spines uncharacteristic of adult sunfish. Adult sunfish are vulnerable to few natural predators, but sea lions, killer whales, and sharks will consume them. Among humans, sunfish are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, including Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
In the EU, regulations ban the sale of fish and fishery products derived from the family Molidae. Sunfish are frequently caught in gillnets.
While Poliwags are cropping up next to palm trees and under sun beds, you’ll have to travel to the indo-pacific to places such as Bali to witness these beautiful and mystical creatures.
Gyrados the Sea Dragon
Now we have a real life Pokémon. Rare are these sea creatures and just as mythical – the Sea Dragon!
Not the fire breathing flying reptiles that the likes of Harry Potter and Game of Thrones would show you (!), these creatures are in fact very small and very beautiful.
Found in sea kelp forests off the coast of south Australia, these magical creatures are an awesome addition to your real life Pokedex.
In the Pokémon world we would say this is most like Gyrados, similar in shape and characteristics but very different in temperament.
While Sea Dragons are very shy and camouflage their tiny selves in the kelp, Gyrados by comparison is huge and very aggressive. If you have one of these you’ll be sure to win in any Poke Gym if you have a Sea Dragon ticked off in your real life pokedex, however you’re sure to be the envy of many divers.
There are 3 types of sea dragon; the Leafy Sea Dragon, the Weedy Sea Dragon and the most recently discovered Ruby Sea Dragon.
Much like the seahorse, the Leafy Sea Dragon’s name is derived from its resemblance to another creature (in this case, the mythical dragon). While not large, they are slightly larger than most seahorses, growing to about 20 – 24 cm (8 – 9.5 in). They feed on plankton and small crustaceans.
The lobes of skin that grow on the Leafy Sea Dragon provide camouflage, giving it the appearance of seaweed and it is able to maintain this illusion when swimming, appearing to move through the water like a piece of floating seaweed. It can also change colour to blend in, but this ability depends on the sea dragon’s diet, age, location, and stress level.
The Leafy Sea Dragon is related to the pipefish and belongs to the family Syngnathidae, along with the seahorse. It differs from the seahorse in appearance, form of locomotion and its inability to coil or grasp things with its tail.
A related species is the Weedy Sea Dragon, which is multi-coloured and grows weed-like fins, but is smaller than the leafy sea dragon. Another unique feature are the small, circular gill openings covering tufted gills, very unlike the crescent-shaped gill openings and ridged gills of most fish species.
The Ruby Sea Dragon was first described in 2015, making it only the third known species of sea dragon, and the first to be discovered in 150 years. The team that discovered this species named the marine fish after its color and they believe it is so red because it inhabits the deeper waters, where red hues are absorbed more efficiently and being red colored can help camouflage.
The Majestic Lapras Pokémon (well we think it looks like a Whaleshark!)
Lapras is the next Pokémon on our list of cool waterpokémon. This calm and graceful pokemon said to be able to communicate with humans telepathically are a very large and resemble a plesiosaur. Its skin is mainly a light blue with a cream/white underside. It has a very long neck with a rounded head. Its ears are shaped like a spiral and it has a small horn on its forehead.
Having no legs, it instead has four flippers for easy mobility in the water. Lapras also have large, gray shells on their backs with ‘knobs’ covering them. It’s mystic and grace is why we compare it to one of the most beautiful sea creatures of them all – the mighty whaleshark.
These filter feeders glide through the water weightless even though they can grow up to 7m in length. There is a lot of on-going conservation work for these immense creatures and this year they are officially put on the endangered list.
Getting too close and touching these creatures is more than just discouraged, they are protected especially in the Philippines where touching or getting too close, (by law you must stay at least 4 feet away) can land you a jail sentence!
Found in tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean and beyond and especially here on Koh Tao, this is the number 1 on the must see list as a diver!
Other Pokémons that have likenesses to the sea creatures we see almost daily here in Koh Tao are….
Author: Nina Horne (PADI MSDT #355693)