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I believe Niantic has also said certain Pokemon will only be available during special events, and certain Pokemon only spawn in certain countries.

Having said that, has a list of the Pokemon least likely to spawn/be caught been compiled? Is this information even available?

  • Do you have a source where they verified certain pokemon will be restricted? – user973 Aug 8 '16 at 14:57
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    ditto, mew, mewtwo, zapdos, articuno and moltres have the lowest spawn rates in the game with a zero percent chance to spawn. – Aequitas Aug 8 '16 at 15:28
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    Niantic has not released any direct statements about the regional Pokemon, but it is a known fact. Also, I wouldn't consider Pokemon with 0% spawn rates to be the "most rare". I think 'most rare' would imply that it is at least possible for them to spawn. – pay Aug 8 '16 at 15:42
  • You might want to checkout some datapoints I gathered from London via PokeVision. You should be able to interpolate spawn rates from there (one find is that final evolutions can spawn, but do rarely spawn) github.com/thomasjungblut/pokemining – Thomas Jungblut Aug 8 '16 at 22:58
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This doesn't have to do specifically with spawn rates, but it does show how 'rare' a Pokemon is based on a catch rate. You can infer a Pokemon's spawn rate by looking at it's catch rate, in general. For example, if a Pokemon's base capture rate is 0%, it will likely never spawn. While this answer isn't 100% complete, it provides reputable sources, that explain all that we know at this point in time.

Keep in mind that the following information has been extracted from the Pokemon Go source code, and while its accuracy may seem feasible and reasonable, it is not yet official. That being said, this is what most people seem to believe at this point...

The following a list of the base capture rate for each of the 151 Pokemon in Pokemon Go (source):

  • Base Capture Rate: List of Pokemon
  • 56%: Magikarp
  • 48%: Oddish
  • 40%: Caterpie, Weedle, Pidgey, Rattata, Spearow, Ekans, Sandshrew, Nidoran (male), Nidoran (female), Jigglypuff, Zubat, Venonat, Diglett, Meowth, Psyduck, Mankey, Poliwag, Abra, Machop, Bellsprout, Tentacool, Geodude, Slowpoke, Magnemite, Doduo, Seel, Grimer, Shellder, Drowzee, Krabby, Voltorb, Exeggcute, Koffing, Rhyhorn, Horsea, Goldeen, Staryu
  • 32%: Paras, Ponyta, Gastly, Cubone, Tangela, Eevee, Porygon, Omanyte, Kabuto, Dratini
  • 24%: Clefairy, Vulpix, Growlithe, Farfetch'd, Mr. Mime, Scyther, Jynx, Electabuzz, Magmar, Pinsir, Tauros, Gloom
  • 20%: Metapod, Kakuna, Pidgeotto, Nidorina, Nidorino, Poliwhirl, Kadabra, Machoke, Weepinbell, Graveler
  • 16%: Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Pikachu, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Lickitung, Chansey, Lapras, Ditto, Aerodactyl, Snorlax, Kangaskhan, Onix, Raticate, Fearow, Arbok, Sandslash, Wigglytuff, Golbat, Parasect, Venomoth, Dugtrio, Persian, Golduck, Primeape, Tentacruel, Slowbro, Magneton, Dodrio, Dewgong, Muk, Cloyster, Haunter, Hypno, Kingler, Electrode, Exeggutor, Weezing, Rhydon, Seadra, Seaking, Starmie
  • 12%: Rapidash, Marowak, Vaporeon, Jolteon, Flareon, Omastar, Kabutops, Vileplume
  • 10%: Butterfree, Beedrill, Pidgeot, Nidoqueen, Nidoking, Poliwrath, Alakazam, Machamp, Victreebel, Golem
  • 8%: Ivysaur, Charmeleon, Wartortle, Raichu, Clefable, Ninetales, Arcanine, Gyarados, Dragonair, Gengar
  • 4%: Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise, Dragonite
  • 0%: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mewtwo, Mew

Keep in mind that base capture rate means the probability or likelihood that you will catch a Pokemon with a PokeBall, with no throw bonus, curveball, Razz Berry, or any other feature that increases or decreases your likelihood. You can read here about what factors can alter catch rate.

So to answer your question, the rarest Pokemon (based on base capture rate) are Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mewtwo, and Mew.

From the above statistics, you can see that there are five Pokemon that are currently not catchable (with a base capture rate of 0%), including Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mewtwo, and Mew. There is speculation that these Pokemon will be "given away" at Niantic events. It is also interesting to note that the ever mysterious Ditto has a base catch rate of 16%, so if anyone can find it, it's not uncatchable. However, this is a small point of discrepancy. If Ditto's spawn rate could be modeled off of its base capture rate, then Ditto would be as common as many other Pokemon, such as Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, and Pikachu. Similar exceptions can be seen with Pokemon such as Aerodactyl and Snorlax, which have the same base capture rate as the four* starters, but seem to spawn much less often. You must take these statistics with a grain of salt, but they are a great place to start forming conclusions.

This might also suggest that Ditto occurs just as commonly as the starters, but is masquerading as a different Pokemon, and nobody has figured out how to make it "un-transform."

It's also important to note that regional Pokemon will have a spawn rate of 0% outside of their respective regions.

EDIT: I also found this this page that shows more about how spawn rate is calculated in general.

EDIT 2: As requested, I found some more general information about general spawns, which can be watch in this video or read about at this page. Both sources explain this, but the website link in particular explains where to find different types of Pokemon, which, as @KazWolfe stated, shows the existence of biomes and/or nests in Pokemon Go.

Here is a helpful video that essentially summarizes all of the above information in a visual, easy to understand fashion.

*The three regular starters (Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander) plus Pikachu

  • Note that the legendaries do not have a defined spaw/catch rate! We do not know how the game interprets this. It could assume it to be 0, 1, or null (causing a crash). Additionally (with Ditto, for example) there is no necessary correlation between catch rate and spawn chances. – Kaz Wolfe Aug 11 '16 at 7:21
  • @KazWolfe This might not be a black-and-white answer, but you can look at the different tiers of catch rate, and use it to generally predict spawn rate. I understand that there are outliers and exceptions, and I stated that in my answer – wcarhart Aug 11 '16 at 7:26
  • I've noticed far more spawns for the 40% and the 16% group than other (higher) groups. Also, your answer makes no mention at all of Pokemon spawning in regions/biomes, which is an observed fact in the game as of this time. – Kaz Wolfe Aug 11 '16 at 7:28
  • @KazWolfe My initial "Edit" paragraph contains a link that talks some about biomes, but I just added another two references in the "Edit 2" section to explain that phenomenon more – wcarhart Aug 11 '16 at 7:44
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From what I can tell from various online forums and websites, Unown and Togetic appear to be the rarest Pokemon in the wild that can spawn and aren't regional exclusives. Strangely I couldn't find a list of rare Pokemon by spawn rate. I imagine this is the case because there isn't any official data with which to base said list on, and that spawn rates vary with the local area and weather.

There is a list of rarity based on legacy moves instead of spawn rates e.g. Pokemon with moves that can no longer be obtained. That's based on how likely you were to obtain a Pokemon with said legacy move. For example the window of time to obtain Stone Edge Blaziken was very short, making it harder to get than Shadow Claw Gengar. The rarest by this method is a Pikachu with Present and Surf, and wearing either a Party Hat, Witch Hat, and Ash Hat. The reason behind that is, unlike other event-special moves, Present and Surf on Pikachu were obtainable with TMs during their event periods (Winter holiday special and Community Day respectively). So one could have obtained a hat Pikachu, and used TMs to get those moves during their event periods to obtain a Pokemon with three legacy traits (two legacy moves and a legacy hat).

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