There’s a “Philosoraptor” meme going around the internet that goes like this: If two trainers with a Slowpoke and a Shelder respectively are battling, and the Shelder bites the tail of the Slowpoke, who gets the resulting Slowbro? An episode of the anime seems to state that the Slowpoke retains the control and allegiance for the Slowbro even if the Slowpoke is wild, but it got me thinking about symbiotic relationships in Pokemon. Mantine & Remoraid are another interesting pair. Thoughts on this?

Interesting question.

Purely from a practical perspective, the Shellder is sort of the ‘passive’ partner in the symbiosis; it just feeds off the Slowpoke’s scraps and moves wherever the Slowpoke decides to go.  Assuming the Slowpoke remains loyal to its trainer, it makes sense that the Shellder would be dragged along for the ride.  This, of course, raises the question of why a Shellder belonging to a trainer ever would willingly join with a Slowpoke belonging to another trainer, or with a wild one.  In the Slowbro episode of the anime, the Shellder actually belongs to Jessie, but abandons her when it joins with the wild Slowpoke who lives with Professor Westwood.  The obvious explanation is that Shellder didn’t really want to be with Jessie anyway, but unfortunately that explanation doesn’t work for me because of my weird theories that Pokémon are always able to resist capture if they don’t want to be partnered with humans.  I think the best answer for me is that Shellder are very fickle Pokémon (which, in fairness, does seem to fit them) who are perfectly prepared to work with humans just for the possibility of finding a Slowpoke.  They may develop true loyalties before that happens, and if they do, they will refuse to join with wild Slowpoke from then on, but in the early stages of your relationship with your Shellder, you might want to keep it away from any Slowpoke you meet…

Remoraid and Mantine are sort of a different case, because they actually can and often do separate again later (in its sprites, Mantine is shown without attached Remoraid from Diamond and Pearl onward).  The Remoraid assists with evolution, but an ongoing symbiosis relationship is only necessary in the wild.  Of course, if a wild Remoraid did attach itself to your Mantyke (or adult Mantine, for that matter) you might find that you had a new Pokémon!  They wouldn’t change allegiance the way Shellder do, though.

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