A regional variant (Japanese: リージョンフォーム Region Form) is a species of Pokémon found in a specific region that takes on a different form than it does in most other regions. These Pokémon have uniquely adapted to habitats that are different than those where its species naturally live in other parts of the world. As such, many things may be different about them, from their appearance and way of living to even their type, moves, Abilities, base stats and height and weight. This is analogous to genetic drift in regards to real world phenomena, where a population that is isolated from the rest of the species develop unique traits and eventually evolve into a new species.
In the Alola region, a species' regional variant is referred to as its Alola Form (Japanese: アローラのすがた Alola form). A Pokémon in its Alola Form is described as Alolan — for example, Exeggutor in its Alola Form is referred to as Alolan Exeggutor. Only Pokémon introduced in Generation I have Alola Forms.
In Alola, when breeding Pokémon whose offspring has a regional variant, the offspring's form depends on its parents. If either parent is the species' normal form and holds an Everstone, and if the offspring is in the same family as that parent, then the offspring will hatch as the normal form. In all other cases, the offspring will always hatch in its Alola Form.
In Pokémon Sun and Moon, if a Pokémon evolves from a species that does not have an Alola Form to one that does, such as Cubone, it will always evolve into its Alola Form and cannot evolve into its normal form. In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the Pokémon will evolve into its Alola Form while in Alola itself, but can also evolve into its normal form while in Ultra Space.
- Main article: Variant Pokémon
Prior to Generation VII, there were already certain Pokémon that had variations depending on their native geographical area, but, unlike regional variants, these Pokémon do not appear to have adapted to selective pressures; rather, their differences are purely aesthetic, with their type, moves, Abilities, height, and weight remaining the same.
- The Generation I Pokédex entries for Arbok state that there are six variations of its face-like hood markings that differ between areas. Eight designs are known, but only three have appeared in the core series games (with a fourth in Pokémon Ranger). In Pokémon Adventures, Arbok gains a special ability depending on its pattern.
- In Sinnoh, Shellos and Gastrodon have different appearances on each side of Mt. Coronet. East Sea Shellos and Gastrodon only appear east of Mt. Coronet, whereas West Sea Shellos and Gastrodon only appear on the west side.
- Mantyke's Pokédex entry in Pokémon Pearl says that the pattern on its back varies from region to region. While it has the same appearance in all Generation IV games (due to using the same sprites), the "face" from Generation V onward appears wider.
- Vivillon, which was introduced in Generation VI, has a different appearance depending on where the game it was created in is from in the real world.
- In the anime episode Poké Ball Peril, a number of alternately colored Pokémon were seen on Valencia Island, including Butterfree, Raticate, Nidoran♂, Nidoran♀, Vileplume, Paras, and Weepinbell. Professor Ivy, the Pokémon Professor of the Orange Archipelago, studies these variations.
- The episode Fly Me to the Moon featured Pidgey native to Pudgy Pidgey Isle that were too heavy to fly due to an abundance of food and a lack of predators.
- In the Pokémon Adventures round Off Course with Corsola, Bill mentioned that Kanto and Johto share many of the same Pokémon, but their colors and patterns are different between regions.
- When a Pokémon undergoes evolution into a regional variant, the background in the evolution animation is green, as opposed to the blue background for all other Pokémon. Conversely, when a Pokémon Egg hatches into a regional variant, the background is blue instead of yellow. Additionally, a different arrangement of the evolution music is played in both of these situations.
- All non-Alolan Pokémon that can evolve into an Alola Form have a signature move.
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