, , and , are three Pokémon species in Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokémon franchise. Created by Ken Sugimori, they first appeared in the video games Pokémon Red and Blue and subsequent sequels. They have later appeared in various merchandise, spinoff titles and animated and printed adaptations of the franchise. All three are voiced by Rikako Aikawa in Japanese and English, except for Metapod being voiced by Eric Stuart in English.
Caterpie, known as the "worm" Pokémon, Satoshi Tajiri, creator of the series, took heavy inspiration from his childhood hobby of insect collection in creating the various Pokémon species. Caterpie was based on the design of a caterpillar, specifically the caterpillar of the Swallowtail butterfly. Caterpie's name is derived from the word caterpillar as well. their eyes are patterned to scare away predators, their suction-cup feet allow them to climb any surface, and the osmeterium on their heads can project a horrid stench to repel predators. Caterpie is the smallest of all the original Pokémon, and grows in size by shedding its skin. Eventually, Caterpie evolves into Metapod, and then Butterfree. It can only ever learn two attacks, Tackle and String Shot, and is severely limited in ability until it evolves. Though, in all games following Pokémon Platinum, it became capable of also learning Snore and Bug Bite.
Known as the Cocoon Pokémon, Metapod are pupal Pokémon found in the wild early in the Kanto and Johto regions, of which its larval form is the caterpillar-like Caterpie. They can evolve into the butterfly-like Butterfree. While Metapod is classified as a cocoon Pokémon, it bears more resemblance to a chrysalis. A Metapod's exterior is regularly hardened to protect its soft and tender innards while undergoing metamorphosis to eventually become a Butterfree. To conserve energy for this event, the Metapod barely moves. While this shell is said to be as hard as steel, a large sudden impact could cause its vulnerable body to pop out, leaving it completely exposed. Its name comes from a combination of "metamorphosis" and "pod."
Known as the Butterfly Pokémon, Butterfree are fully-developed, butterfly-like Pokémon that have hatched from their pupal Metapod forms. Whereas many other Pokémon evolve into their final forms at much later levels, Butterfree's early availability makes it a temporarily strong asset to Pokémon Trainers starting out on their journeys. Butterfree resembles a vaguely anthropomorphic butterfly. Unlike true insects, it only has four legs, which are a pale blue color. It has a nose-like structure which is a similar color. Its body’s coloration is a darker purple-blue. It has large veined wings which are white with black markings. These markings can help distinguish male and female individuals. It has large compound eyes which tend to be a reddish color. Butterfree feed on honey from flowers, and they rub the honey onto the hairs on their legs to transport the honey back to their nests. Like members of the order Lepidoptera, Butterfree’s wings are covered in fine scales that are water-repellant and allow it to fly in heavy rains, something many other insect Pokémon such as Masquerain cannot do, and Butterfree wings are coated in toxic dust that can be shot at an opponent in battle through wing flapping.
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