Symbiosis marks Meganium's existence throughout its entire life cycle. As an adult, Meganium could be considered to be a mobile ecosystem. Blurring the line between flora and fauna, Meganiums have the rare ability to produce sustenance through a process known as photosynthesis, which is normally an exclusivity to plant species. In photosynthesis, plants synthesize glucose from sunlight. This phenomenon is conducted similarly in Meganiums at a cellular level, however excess energy is likewise uniquely radiated through rapid and continuous photonic absorption and dissipation. Doing so causes their scales to shed at a much higher rate than other reptilian species. This particular process of accelerated molting generates a gaseous cloud of heat as a byproduct.
Other plants in close proximity to Meganium benefit from this radiated wave of energy. In sharing the surplus nourishment that it generates, Meganiums promote health and fervent growth in the plants that they also consume through more traditional means (i.e. orally). By assisting nearby plants to grow or repair themselves, a whole host of other creatures benefit simply from being around these large reptile-plant hybrids. Insects flock to the plants that bloom in the animal's wake, and in turn, smaller predators that feast on the insects also keep close (such as Spearow or Taillow; pictured here).
As a result of this cyclical, mutually beneficial interaction with its primary food source and countless other smaller creatures, Meganiums have come to hold an almost mythological standing in the animal kingdom. Some aboriginal tribes believe Meganiums to be possessed by the spirits of past chieftains. 'Shaman of the natural world' is a more commercially accepted term; however in the modern world, Meganiums severely suffer for these abilities. They are a primary target for poachers, who peddle claws, teeth, antennae, petals, tails, and Meganium bones in third world black markets for their supposed medicinal properties.
In adolescence - popularly referred to as 'Bayleef' - exists in mutualism with Caterpie larvae and pupa (known as 'Metapods' in this cacooned state). The Caterpie caterpillar is attracted to the sweet sugars in the large perennial leaf adorning Bayleef's head. Scientists believe that Bayleefs use this extraneous growth as bait to entice the insects to return later in life in order to facilitate pollination in the future. It should be said that the process by which Meganiums reproduce is not yet wholly understood - much like the creature itself, the physiological process of reproduction is an odd amalgamation of normal reptilian mating techniques and the pollination processes of plants.
In the pupa, or 'Metapod' stage of metamorphosis, Caterpies latch on to the 'yoke' of a Bayleef, and through simple camouflage techniques attempt to blend in with the growing petals (or 'pods') that will later bloom upon the Bayleef's maturation. Other Metapod defensive techniques include large eyespots on the carapace, as well as the shell itself terminating in a noisemaker (or 'rattle') to ward off more persistent predators. In this way, the Bayleef also benefits.
While not biologically dependent upon any other species in its juvenile form, young Meganiums (known as 'Chikoritas' at this age), routinely share nesting grounds with juvenile Donphan's (called a 'Phanpy'). The two species are rambunctious in their play with one another, but also provide security in herding together. Mature Donphans are aggressive and live in solitude, leaving entire litters to fend for themselves shortly after birth. A Phanpy is much more likely to survive in the wild when it is accepted into a Meganium herd.
Thank you for the wonderful gallery,
! It is truly inspiring. You know what they say - imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.