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Hello, everyone, I'm back for another theory. This one is going to cover a lot on the subject of Bulborbs, so excuse me if this gets a little hard to follow at points.
The central piece to this theory is that Bulborbs, though not insects, bear some interesting connections to the real-world order Hymenoptera. This order includes specialized insects like bees and ants, all with nests of some sort and a "queen" that produces all of the colony's offspring. Sound familier? Empress Bulblax resides underground in a hollowed-out den and produces a steady stream of Bulborb Larva. So, Empress Bulblax is the equivalent of a queen bee of a honeybee colony, but what does that mean? We can draw a few interesting things from this.
1. The Empress Bulblax must have started its life as a Bulborb Larva. Something, however, must have been done to give it the distinct form that we know it to possess. In nature, when it is time to appoint a new queen bee, one specific larva will be fed large amounts of a bee secretion known as royal jelly. Large portions of this "jelly" provide proteins that a honeybee will otherwise not obtain, making this new queen bee develop in a way different from its larval companions. The queen grows larger than the other bees, and it develops a functional reproductive system. A similar process could be what causes a Bulborb Larva to grow into an Empress Bulblax. Bulborbs, however, have no known form of secretions, so they likely acquire such a substance from their surrounding area. Eggs containing Ultra-bitter Nectar, Ultra-spicy Nectar, and just ordinary Nectar are found underground, so any of these could be fed to a Bulborb Larva to produce an Empress Bulblax. The effects of Ultra-spicy and Ultra-bitter Sprays on all creatures but Pikmin are unkown so they could possibly be used. I find it more likely, however, that Nectar is the Bulborb's royal jelly, as much like all bee larvae are at one point housed in this substance, all Bulborb Larvae leave a drop of Nectar when killed. It is only until a larva is fed large amounts of the jelly that it begins to develop, so the same could easily be true for Bulborbs; all need Nectar, the Empress just needs a lot more.
2. In a honeybee colony, aside from the queen bee, there are male "drone" bees and female "worker" bees. The males have functional reproductive systems and are actually only used for reproduction with the queen. Females are sterile and are tasked with providing nourishment for the queen and larvae. A queen bee produces about 1,400 - 2,000 larvae annually. All males are required for reproduction and all females are required for help with the larvae. The Empress Bulblax produces about 15 larvae each minute, which means about 900 in a hour, about 21,600 in a day, and a whopping 7,884,000 in a year (wow). Considering this massive number, all the males produced must be required for reproduction, meaning they stay in the "nest"... which means we may have never seen a male Bulborb. Does that mean every adult Bulborb we see lazing about on its own is female? Yes, but there's more to it. I call the Bulborbs found in areas like the Awakening Wood "Free Bulborbs", meaning that they don't live under the order of the nest, as they are not needed. But with so many larvae being produced, wouldn't all they females be needed to help out? Not exactly; according to Olimar's Notes, Bulborb Larvae are able to find food and feed themselves, and by experience, most of us should know that's true. Therefore, workers would only be required to feed the Empress (she can't even walk), and only so many can do this, so to keep space in the nest, unnecessary females are sent out. With this in mind, we may have never seen "worker" female Bulborbs. While workers would appear the same as nomal Bulborbs seen in the games, they would likely sleep and eat a lot less, as their work is for the queen.
To summarize big points so far:
- Nectar/Ultra-spicy Nectar/Ultra-bitter Nectar/ could have different effects on creatures that we have no seen them be used on. This could explain how an Empress Bulblax is formed. Nectar seems most likely.
- Males Bulborbs are never seen. To produce almost 8 million larvae, all males would be required at the nest. They may be slightly larger or smaller than the females we see, but not drastically different.
- Female "worker" Bulborbs are never seen, and are likely identical to "free" Bulborbs, but behave differently. Like the males, they stick close to the nest.
- We see "free" Bulborbs out and about because they are not needed at the nest to serve Empress Bulblax. They live they're own lives and hunt food for their own gain.
- Due to their similarities to order Hymenoptera, we can assume all Bulborbs we see (aside from Empress Bulblax) are sterile.
But wait, there's more! Any avid reader of the Piklopedia may recall that Olimar states that a female Bulborb's egg sac expands due to environmental changes (resulting in an Empress Bulblax), which contradicts my statement that Nectar may be used to provide the creature's excellent fertility. I don't care what the game says, anatomy cannot be changed by one's environment. That's like saying that your dog gets taller because you put all it's food up on the fridge. It just doesn't happen. Lamarck couldn't prove it, and niether can Olimar.
That's all I have for this theory. If you see a hole in this, or would like to inquire about something, let me know, and I can almost certainly provide an answer. If I can't... then congrats, smarty-pants.