Requested by @jakesteinberg
Aromatisse is a smelly pokémon. According to the pokédex, it can produce all sorts of smells, both pleasant and unpleasant, to gain an edge in battle. While scent may not be the first thought that crosses your mind if you’re out to sabotage your enemies, it is certainly an effective technique. Let’s look at some of the plants and animals in our world that use the same strategy as Aromatisse!
First and most obviously, let’s talk about flowers. Flowers are the reproductive organs of plants, and they largely rely on pollinators like bees or butterflies to reproduce by spreading their pollen around. Because of this, flowers evolved to smell pleasantly, which attracts these pollinators to them. Other carnivorous plants, like venus flytraps (Carnivine) or pitcher plants (Victreebel), they smell nice to lure in their prey. In most plants, the scent is produced in their petals. In others, namely orchids, have special organs called osmophores which are responsible for producing the scent.
Having a gland to produce scent isn’t exclusive to the plant kingdom. Skunks have two scent-producing glands at the base of their tail. These glands produce a sulfur-based compound called thiol, which is responsible for the notoriously bad smell. When threatened, the skunk can control the muscles around the glands to spray up to 10 meters away with great accuracy, releasing the awful scent and persuading predators that if it smells that bad, the skunk can’t possibly taste good enough to eat.
Other animals that use glands to produce scents include the opossum, which uses a foul scent to improve its facade when it plays dead. Tasmanian Devils, which produce an odor when they’re stressed out. The lesser anteater, who’s defensive stench is 7x more smelly than a skunk.
Many bugs also have smelly capabilities. The Bombardier beetle stores two chemicals in its body: hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide. When it is threatened, it will mix the two together, setting off a horrible chemical reaction that creates a stinky, explosive, and hot (100 degrees C) spray to ward off its enemies.
Other animals which aren’t capable of producing scents by themselves employ more creative techniques. Some vultures, for example, will vomit if they’re threatened. Vultures are scavengers, so many of their meals consist of rotting flesh. Not that barf smells good to begin with, but I’d imagine that just makes it worse. It’s certainly an effective way or warding off predators.
Similarly, the Hoatzin, also called the a stinkbird, uses its bad-smelling food to its advantage. Stinkbirds have a unique digestive system, like a cow, which relies on bacteria to break down food instead of having stomach acid. This results in the stinkbird smelling like manure, just all the time.
But not all scents in the animal kingdom have to be bad, either. In fact, some animals smell very peculiar. The binturong bearcat produces a compound called 2-AP in its urine. Coincidentally, 2-AP is the same compound that gives popcorn its distinct smell. So, binturong urine smells exactly like popcorn.
Some stick insects produce a peppermint smell. Yellow ant colonies smell like lemons. Spadefoot Toads smell like peanut butter. Beavers have scent glands like a skunk, but uses it to mark its territory instead of as a defense mechanism. The goo it produces, called castoreum, shares so many similarities with vanilla that beavers have historically been “milked” so the castoreum can be used as artificial vanilla flavors in food.
And yet, so far all the creatures we’ve talked about can only produce one single scent. Aromatisse has a scent for every occasion–and some animals do that too. The sea hare, a fascinating undersea mollusc, produces an ink to scare off predators. The ink is both poisonous and foul-smelling, but interestingly enough, the ink’s color, composition, and scent can be changed based on the sea hare’s diet.
Sometimes, the ink can be very attractive to lobsters and other natural predators of the sea hare. If it gets captured, the sea hare will produce this ink and the lobster will drop the sea hare in favor of eating the delicious ink instead. Another kind of ink it produces is disgusting towards its predators, scaring them off like a skunk’s spray and many other animals’ defenses we’ve talked about. Another kind of ink still neither repels nor attracts predators, but effectively blocks the predator’s nose-nerves from talking to their brains, inhibiting their sense of smell altogether. It basically gives them a stuffy nose, so they are unable to smell at all. This causes the lobster to immediately stop what its doing and focus on cleaning off its smell receptors, giving the sea hare plenty of time to escape.
Bringing this back to Aromatisse, this fairy-type pokémon must have several different ways of producing scents. It likely has one if not multiple scent glands, which produce different compounds and different smells. Additionally, it might use things like its urine, its digestive system and diet to produce different smells. These fragrances have a variety of different uses, from defense mechanisms like convincing predators it doesn’t taste good, or pretending its dead, to blocking off the enemy’s senses to weaken it during battle. Other scents may help attract prey and food straight to Aromatisse. Others may help calm allies during battle.
Aromatisse is capable of producing many different scents using special glands, its digestive system, chemical reactions and more. It produces odors as defense to scare away predators, and as offense to weaken or attract prey.
Does all of that make scents? Aromatisse does!