Pokémon GO has captivated a large audience, and not even Chincoteague Bay Field Station is immune. In case you’ve been living under a rock (or a Geodude), Pokémon GO is a virally popular mobile app that lets you catch Pokémon on your smart phone depending on where you are in the real world. Since the app debuted, you often can find CBFS educators and interns hanging around the Station’s sign out front, which is the nearest Poké-Stop to campus. And although we’re a little salty that the station wasn’t deemed a gym instead, we still love it.
The Pokémon you can catch are regional – Pokémon you’d get out in the marshes near Chincoteague are quite different than the ones you’d find in the more populated area around the Ocean City boardwalk. It just so happens that many Pokémon have real-life counterparts living in the same habitats. While you may not find a Ghastly floating around in real life, here are five Pokémon that bear a striking resemblance to organisms found on the Eastern Shore.
Squirtle = Diamondback Terrapin
Squirtle is the iconic turtle of the Pokémon franchise, and the diamondback terrapin is the iconic turtle of the Eastern Shore. Both are cute, but can be a bit nasty if you’re not careful. Holding a terrapin may result in scratched hands from its claws. Holding a Squirtle may result in gallons of water being blasted into your face.
Tentacruel = Moon Jelly
Both Tentacruel and the moon jelly can be found in the waters of the Chincoteague Bay. Moon jellies can get fairly big with a diameter of 10 to 12 inches. Tentacruel grow to be even bigger. Like Tentacruel, the moon jelly has many tentacles that can release toxin to catch prey. Unlike Tentacruel, a moon jelly will not knock over a skyscraper with said tentacle.
Pidgeot = Osprey
The osprey was clear inspiration for the Pidgey evolution line, especially the final evolution, Pidgeot. An osprey will use its keen eyesight to catch fish right out of the water mid-flight. Many of Pidgeot’s Pokédex entries also allude to its impeccable vision and ability to snatch prey out of the water. These Pokédex entries also say that Pidgeots can make gusts of wind strong enough to bend tall trees and that they can fly at speeds reaching Mach 2. Osprey can’t do either of those things.
Krabby = Ghost Crab
While Krabby seems to be based on many different types of crabs, it matches the ghost crab the most out of the crustaceans on the Eastern Shore. Ghost crabs are famous for burying themselves in the sand on beaches. Krabby is famous for having what is arguably the least creative name for a Pokémon.
Horsea = Lined Seahorse
As the only type of seahorse we have in the area, the lined seahorse is the closest Eastern Shore equivalent to the Pokémon Horsea. Both creatures use their curled tails to hold on to grasses or other objects to either avoid being washed away by the current. However, the lined seahorse might actually be harder to find than its Pokémon counterpart, as camouflage is the poor swimmer’s first line of defense. In contrast, Horsea’s first line of defense is spraying bubbles at you.
Pokémon GO is a viral sensation, and for good reason. It’s fun, and it is great motivation to get outdoors. Next time you go on a Pokémon-related adventure, keep an eye out for the amazing real-life creatures that live on the Eastern Shore as well.
Chincoteague Bay Field Station, formerly known as Marine Science Consortium, is an environmental education center located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. CBFS provides outstanding multi-disciplinary, educational and research opportunities that celebrate the rich natural, cultural, economic, and technological resources of the mid-Atlantic Coastal region through field-based and hands-on learning.