Requested by @chelonianmobile
It’s ya boi, back at it again writing a post for the first time since I started grad school! (I’m so sorry I have been neglecting this blog, I’m dying here). For my triumphant (and likely brief) return, let’s take a look at Slowbro, the loveable “Hermit Crab” Pokémon.
When a Slowpoke is bitten by a Shellder, something amazing happens. It becomes bipedal, stronger, and smarter. In our Slowking analysis, we explained this with the neurotoxin apamin, a substance which increases brain power. Shellder injects apamin into the slowpoke, which causes these changes. Slowking is bitten on the head, so the toxin is injected directly into the brain for more drastic effects than when injected through the tail, as is the case with Slowbro.
That explains what happens to the Slowpoke in this relationship, but what about the Shellder? When a Shellder bites onto a slowpoke, it never lets go. Once bitten, the Shellder becomes so inseperable from the slowpoke that it is no longer even considered a separate pokémon. The best real-world of this kind of fusion lies with the formidable anglerfish.
The angerfish species has a very peculiar mating ritual. The female anglerfish, pictured above, looks nothing like the male anglerfish. A male anglerfish is less fish and more like a parasite. To reproduce, the male will bite and attach itself to the female, much like a leech or a Shellder.
Then, they fuse together. The male anglerfish starts to melt, until their skin joins together and their blood vessels connect. Instead of eating, the male anglerfish now absorbs all nutrients directly from the female’s blood. In return, the male supplies his sperm so the female can fertilize her eggs whenever she wants.
This is likely similar to Shellder’s experience with Slowbro. After biting down on Slowpoke’s tail, Shellder begins to fuse with Slowpoke so it can absorb nutrients directly from Slowpoke’s bloodstream, eliminating the need for Shellder to have to hunt for its own food. In return, Slowpoke receives a steady supply of apamin, which makes it stronger and smarter.