The Tynamo Family


Lampreys have been one of my favorite animals since early childhood, and one of the very first things I probably ever wished would get the pokemon treatment. It took just long enough that I almost lost all hope, but the same generation that brought me my dream trash-beast sidelined me with a far too perfect lampreymon and even gave it a surprising pure electric type. No water typing. This thing is electrical and comes with "levitate" as its only ability. This is an electrical lamprey that swims in air as well as in water.

Cute little Tynamo is even a decent representation of a lamprey's actual immature stage, or Ammocoetes, transparent and completely toothless. Ammoecoetes actually live several years longer than the famously fanged adults, and live buried in sand or mud as they filter-feed on microorganisms.

Just like the real thing however, Tynamo acquires a lovely set of rasping teeth when it evolves into Eelektrik. I'm so glad that pokemon took such an unexpected route when they finally, finally submitted to the obvious "electric eel" monster.

(photo source) In the real world, lampreys aren't actually "eels" at all, or even all that closer to other "fish" than we humans are, representing an ancient lineage of jawless, cartilaginous chordates now survived only by the lampreys and the hagfish. Maybe you're also aware that even an electric eel isn't an eel, but a very large knifefish. None of this really matters in a setting where spiders, rats and zebras can also be electrical, but I needed an excuse to tell you some fish facts.

Did you know that not all lamprey species suck blood, even as adults? In fact, many are so short lived that they don't really feed much at all; they just mate, lay eggs and die.

"Lamprey" derives from the latin "lambere" (to lick) and "petra" (stone,) due to their habit of latching on to rocks in fast-moving rivers. They will even lift and carry stones with their mouths to construct a nest!

Lampreys used to be a pretty widespread food staple, and King Henry I of England is said to have died from eating far too many of them at once.

Finally, Eelektrik evolves into EELEKTROSS, the flawless spitting image of a cartoon lamprey only adding a few fins and a set of sucker-tipped "arms" that may as well be additional, vestigial heads.

There are just so many cool things about this design. The little, round, red eyes are just as cute as the real thing, the luminescent yellow markings look great on the dark blue body, and the fleshy antenna-like fin on its head adds such a marvelously alien quality to the whole thing.

Just about the only little nitpick I have with this pokemon is the issue of its "levitation." It seems like the "levitate" ability was only really given to the line so it would have zero weaknesses, with nothing in the pokedex or anime about any sort of floating ability. In fact, its original sprites and all anime appearances have it walking on its little hind fins, which is ADORABLE. I love that.

It was only with the abrupt shift to 3-d that Eelektross started "floating" in-game, but this may be no different from other fish-based pokemon animated the same way. Make up your mind! Does this thing fly like a nightmarish windsock or waddle like a nightmarish penguin?!

Perfect either way.