Scatterbug, Spewpa, & Vivillon
A persistent theme of this line is the presence of the dust or powder that is commonly associated with butterflies and moths. In the real world, this ‘dust’ is actually made up of modified hairs called scales, which are found on the wings of moths and butterflies. The ruff of “fur” on the neck of a Scatterbug is likely inspired by these fine, hair-like scales.
The scales on butterflies and moths have many functions, including insulation and thermoregulation. Scatterbug’s Pokedex entry from Pokemon Y provides more evidence of this:
“The powder that covers its body regulates its temperature, so it can live in any region or climate.”
Scatterbug’s species name is the “Scatterdust” Pokemon. It’s very likely that this is a reference to the scales of the Pokemon coming loose and “scattering” around. It’s also noteworthy that the structual coloration of the wings of a butterfly or moth, is caused by coherent scattering.
Spewpa is likely based on the pupal stage of various species in the Order Lepidoptera which, as stated above, contains all butterflies and moths. Since Spewpa is mobile and its head is exposed, it is slightly possible that the Pokemon took some inspiration from the pupa of the Bagworm Moth. Of course, it could just be a normal cocoon or chrysalis with the larvae poking out its head. The design could also have been inspired by clothing, such as a cloak or poncho (the German name for Spewpa, Puponcho, likely comes from this word). Some of Spewpa’s names in other languages also hint at themes of a “wanderer” or a “vagabond”. This isn’t immediately clear in the design, but if you imagine the cocoon as a cloak, the idea of a wandering cocoon does make some sense.
The scales are more evident on Spewpa than they were on Scatterbug. In fact, the official artwork of Spewpa displays some of the scales falling off the ‘fur’ surrounding Spewpa’s body. Along with the fur, there are more substantial square-shaped scales of various colors. These scales could have been inspired by pixels, and this animation makes it seem like the scales were partially based on confetti.
Vivillon is based on the adult stage (imago) of members of the Order Lepidoptera, such as butterflies and moths. The scales are now located on the wings and Vivillon’s species name is the “Scale” Pokemon. The scales still have a distinctive pixel-like shape. If you look at Vivillon’s eyes, they also appear to be inspired by pixels.
The most exciting aspect of Vivillon’s design is the various wing patterns. The wing pattern is determined by the geographic location set on the Nintendo 3DS system of the original owner. There are 18 known wing patterns. This variety of wing patterns is most likely inspired by Polymorphism). Here is a piece of information on polymorphism in Lepidoptera, taken from Wikipedia:
“Polymorphism is the appearance of forms or “morphs”, which differ in color and number of attributes within a single species. In Lepidoptera, polymorphism can be seen not only between individuals in a population, but also between the sexes as sexual dimorphism, between geographically separated populations in geographical polymorphism and also between generations flying at different seasons of the year (seasonal polymorphism or polyphenism)”
Note: I plan on creating a bonus article, describing the possible inspirations behind each of the individual wing patterns. Check back soon!