Shapeshifter (Anita Blake mythology)
Numerous different types of shapeshifters exist in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter universe, including werewolves and wererats. Anita distinguishes between lycanthropes, which include solely persons infected by contact with another lycanthrope's bodily fluids, and shapeshifters, a class that includes both lycanthropes and persons who are able to shapeshift as a result of magic, such as a personal or family curse.
In the Anitaverse, lycanthropes are barred from certain professions and can in fact still be killed on sight in some states. The status of non-lycanthrope shapeshifters, being far more rare, is less clear. To what extent, if any, human society recognizes the authority of lycanthrope social groups (packs, pards, etc.) -- whether criminal acts undertaken at the order of one's alpha might be regarded as actions taken under duress, for instance—is similarly unclear.
- 1 Shapeshifter attributes
- 2 Transformation
- 3 Becoming a Were
- 4 Lycanthrope social organization
- 4.1 Werewolves
- 4.2 Wereleopards
- 4.3 Wererats
- 4.4 Werehyenas
- 4.5 Swanmanes
- 4.6 Werelions
- 4.7 Uncommon wereanimals
- 5 Other shapeshifters
- 6 References
Lycanthropes can assume at least two forms - human and animal. Powerful shifters can also assume a "hybrid" form that is bipedal with animal characteristics or even transform a small part of their body at will (for example, "growing" fingers into claws).
Changing between forms takes a great deal of energy; most lycanthropes must feed immediately after changing to animal form and collapse into a comatose state for several hours after returning to human form. Stronger lycanthropes do not need to feed immediately or collapse, but are extremely tired. The lycanthropes Anita encounters most frequently can change shape almost at will.
Lycanthropes who spend too much time in animal form may not be able to shift back completely. As a result, some of the lycanthropes Anita meets have fangs or voices or eyes resembling their animal form, even when in human shape.
Other shapeshifters may have different forms available, and may experience different effects. For example, Kaspar is able to shift back and forth to his swan form without unconsciousness, and it is not clear if he has an intermediate "swanman" form, because he was a shifter due to a curse.
Lycanthropy is a blood-borne affliction. It can usually be contracted only through a wound from a were who has at least partially shifted to animal form. Injecting lycanthrope blood directly into the body will also spread the disease, and can be spread metaphysically (e.g. via mental contact with Marmee Noir). The process of becoming a lycanthrope has been described academically and as memory in the series, but not observed in the timeline. Each species-specific strain of the contagion is separate and hostile to all other diseases, including other forms of lycanthropy and vampirism. This hostility is instantaneous from exposure, usually precluding infection from multiple forms of lycanthropy as successive forms are quickly destroyed by the entrenched strain. Under normal circumstances, lycanthropes are therefore immune to all disease. There are an extremely small minority of incidences (described as fewer than 20 documented cases world-wide at one point in the series) where multiple forms of lycanthropy appear able to coexist in the same host. There are also apparently ancient forms of vampirism/lycanthropy that can coexist, allowing for lycanthropes who can contract vampirism and retain their lycanthropic abilities after being "brought over". All known hosts carrying these compatible forms of lycanthropy and vampirism are thousands of years old and, until recently, in some form of hybernation. As of Hit List, it is unclear whether these exceptional hybrids can pass on the vampiric strain that can overcome and coexist with lycanthropy.
- All lycanthropes are extremely fast, strong, and resistant to damage. Lycanthropes' strength appears to depend somewhat on their actual size and somewhat on their level of supernatural power, though it is significantly stronger than that of a human in any case.
- Lycanthropes can recover from almost any wound other than that caused by silver weapons or fire. In Narcisus in Chains Lilian comments that "We can regrow any body part short of decapitation..." for example, in Circus of the Damned, Rashida is able to regenerate an entire arm, and Richard Zeeman is able to recover from having his throat literally torn out. Although in the later books even fresh fire wounds can be healed by cutting away the burned parts. Further, wounds received prior to becoming a lycanthrope can also be healed; for example, the wereleopard, Cherry, was infected with the leopard strain of lycanthropy following an automobile accident in which she lost a leg and on the next full moon her leg regenerated when she shapeshifted for the first time (after the stump was cut off).
- Lycanthropes have extremely acute senses, even in human form. For example, in The Lunatic Cafe Richard claims to be able to "smell" emotions or lies. Narcissus in Chains mentions that sometimes being anxious changes the smell of a person and perhaps that is what the lycanthropes smell. The same book has Nathaniel remarking he can hear a person's heart beat or the blood moving in the body, even in human form.
- Lycanthropes are effectively allergic to silver and feel physical pain from even skin contact, although some seem to enjoy the pain of silver jewelry. Its also been revealed in Narcissus in Chains that some lycanthropes can resist or reverse the effects of the allergy, while less powerful lycanthropes suffer further. Such as Gregory when he was imprisoned in the Thronos Rokke clan's oubliette with silver chains and silver tipped earplugs that had burned his skin off, like he had struggled and fried his eardrums.
Command of animals
At least some Lycanthropes appear able to command animals of their base animal species. For example, wererats may command rats. This ability may be restricted to alphas. Most instances of mundane animals being controlled in the series is control through a master vampire's Animal to Call ability.
Reaction to vampire's call
Lycanthropes can be mentally called and commanded by a vampire with the ability to call their species of animal. For example, Jean-Claude who has the power to call wolves can also call werewolves. Older vampires who have an animal to call may eventually extend their control to other species (usually a related species). The only vampires that display this ability prominently are members of the vampire council including The Beastmaster (wolves, rats, leopards, lions, tigers, possibly more), Belle Morte (Cats), and Marmee Noir (Cats). Depending on their power relative to the vampire calling, lycanthropes may be able to resist a vampire's call, or, in the case of animal leaders, even shield their followers and animals of their type from the call to prevent the vampire from controlling them or forcing them to change shape. For example, Rafael, as the Rat King, was able to prevent Nikolaos from calling actual rats and from calling wererats against their will.
Alpha shapeshifters are also often powerful enough to resist being rolled (dominated) by vampire gaze, although this ability to is limited to the were's metaphysical power relative to the vampire, and the vampires specific gifts. Some vampires, especially old vampires with a gift for dominance, are able to dominate multiple targets, including other vampires without a need to actually see their targets. No lycanthrope has shown the ability to resist this level of power without assistance. Jean-Claude and Asher both, although relatively young, exhibit an extraordinary gift for dominance allowing them to dominate other vampires not of their line.
Some shapeshifters reach "alpha" or "master" status, a power level similar to that of a master vampire. Alpha shapeshifters may display some of the following traits:
- An ability to resist shape shifting, although none have so far exhibited the ability to prevent shift during the full moon without the assistance of another lycanthrope.
- Resistance to psychic gifts that would control, influence, or take energy from them, such as a vampire's gaze and at least some forms of the rarer vampiric emotional feeding gifts.
- The ability to finely control the speed, violence, extent and/or the time length of their shapeshift. For example only a very few (e.g. less than 1% of the Thronos Rokke werewolf clan) can shift hands into claws without a complete change to hybrid or full animal form. The most powerful may exhibit the ability to shift forms quickly, painlessly, or nearly at will without feeding or the recovery coma required of less powerful shifters.
- The ability to force other shapeshifters to change form, or to prevent them from doing so.
- Some shapeshifters, such as Richard can share their power with others by allowing them to feed on the shapeshifter's blood.
- The ability to heal others, by a variety of means. (For example, Raina was able to heal through physical contact, usually ending in sex, but the healing happened before intercourse).
- Some lycanthropes also express offensive metaphysical abilities like Vampires, this is particularly noticeable with Tigers and their respective elements.
Alpha weres who are also the leader (or one of the leaders) of their animal group (such as Rex/Regina for the lions, Ulfric/Fenrir/Lupa for the wolves, or Nimir-Ra/Nimir-Raj for the leopards) also appear to have a metaphysical relationship with the entire group that owes them allegiance. This bond is both a strength and weakness, allowing the leader to make use of the group's collective energy and account for its membership remotely, but also exposing the entire group to being controlled or fed upon through the leader. It can also expose the leader to some measure of control or influence if one of his followers is sufficiently subverted.
Body temperature spikes before the transformation occurs. For non-alphas, the change is generally slow, painful, and graphic. Bones visibly change shape as the new form splits the skin and emerges from inside. A large quantity of clear, hot, sticky fluid is produced, and any clothing on the body is generally damaged or destroyed in the transformation. The body of the transformed animal is generally dry and clean afterwards, but the violence of the change can throw the transformation fluid and viscera left from the old form all around the lycanthrope. Transformation to animal form brings on hunger for flesh (of any kind). Non-alpha lycanthropes, remain in animal or hybrid form (if they have one) for 6–8 hours, after which they transform back to human form and fall into a sleep coma (from which they cannot be wakened) for 6–8 hours. Weres appear to have a relatively constant cycle; some, if not all weres who are beyond their first 6 moons or so may choose to shift back to human form early, but if they do so, the remaining time they would have spent in animal form must be "slept off". Alphas vary in their ability to resist this cycle - some can shift back to human form without having to rest at all, while others may require only a few hours of coma time. Weres CAN be forced (or may choose) to maintain their animal form longer than the time required by their metaphysical potential. The more powerful they are, the longer they can maintain this form without ill effects. However, once they reach a certain point, they begin to lose the ability to return fully to human form. This loss generally begins with the forced retention of animal features (such as eyes or fur) but eventually ends with loss of their sense of self and human intelligence, or ends in insanity.
The first six months of forced transformation during the full moon is particularly traumatic. Most lycanthropes have no recollection and lose all sense of humanity during their first change, and only gradually over their first year start to retain their memory and regain control over their actions during the full moon. There does not appear to be any significant loss of memory or control during voluntary changes, although changes brought on by stress seem to lead to episodes of lost control as well.
Becoming a Were
A victim must be bitten or clawed by another were animal to become a were. The victim always becomes the same type of were animal that damaged them, although there are extremely rare cases where a victim may be able to take on more than one animal form. Not all lycanthrope wounds end in the victim contracting the "curse". Cat- and snake-based lycanthropy are more difficult to contract generally than other forms, but it is unclear how much more difficult or whether the type, amount or depth of wounds makes any difference. The first sign of having contracted lycanthropy is unusually fast healing, often even of wounds that should have resulted in death for the victim. Other signs may or may not include sharpened senses and increased speed and strength. At the next full moon, a lycanthrope shift forcibly to either their animal form, or possibly to their animal hybrid form if they are sufficiently powerful. The "power" of a shapeshifter is a matter of metaphysical potential. Although not stated directly in the series, there appears to be a strong correlation between force of personality, will power, and the metaphysical potential that brings more than just the ability to change shape. There are also notable exceptions, although, to be considered an "alpha" one must have both metaphysical potential AND the drive to gain dominance (pecking order) over others in the group. The (metaphysically) weakest lycanthropes have no hybrid form, while the strongest can have a variety of metaphysical gifts (see Alpha Weres, above) After lycanthropes shifts for the first time, they begin to come into their full potential, gaining significant strength and speed. The ability to assume a hybrid form is related to metaphysical potential, as is healing ability, which varies from nearly as slow as a human (for the weakest) to being able to visibly heal wounds in minutes from silver weapons (for alphas with the right gifts). Eventually, a lycanthrope gains the ability to shift into animal or (if they have it) hybrid form at will.
The social habits of werewolves are probably the most fully described in the series, both because of Anita and Jean-Claude's association with the wolves and because werewolves appear to be the most prevalent type of shapeshifter, particularly in the St. Louis area.
Dominance is a key element in werewolf social organization. The pack is structured in a clear hierarchy, and pack members move up or down by winning or losing challenges against other pack members.
- Although most dominance battles end when one participant backs down, leadership of the pack is only transferred by a battle to the death.
- A dominant pack member may issue any order to submissive member, provided that the dominant does not order the submissive to do anything illegal.
- A pack member may offer or receive "protection" to or from another member. A pack member must accept all challenges on behalf of any person to whom he or she has offered protection.
- Non-werewolves, such as Jean-Claude and Anita Blake may be classified as "dominant" to certain members of the pack, but may not typically be considered "alpha" or full members of the pack. (Anita is an exception).
The werewolves have a variety of private terms, primarily borrowed from Norse mythology although a few stem from Greco-Roman myth as well.
The Bolverk, named after Bolverk of Norse mythology, is the "evil-doer" of the Ulfric. The Bolverk carries out punishments or performs duties the Ulfric find unpalatable but necessary. For example, in the Thronnos Rokke clan, Richard makes Anita the Bolverk of his pack to handle the execution of pack members who either have or will cause harm to the pack. The Bolverk is allowed three helpers called Baugi, Suttung, and Gunnlod. The titles Baugi and Suttung are based on the two giants Bolverk tricked to get the mead of poetry; the Gunnlod is named after Suttung's daughter, who Bolverk seduced for the mead of poetry.
Eranthe and Eros
Eranthe and Eros, the god of love or lust. For the werewolves, these roles are held by other werewolves who help the new werewolves learn to control themselves and their physical form during sex, usually to prevent the change from human to wolf during sexual release.
Hati and Skoll
These are the Ulfric's primary enforcers and bodyguards; their role is unrelated (and their rank is unclear in relation) to that of Bolverk, Baugi, Suttung, and Gunnlod. They must win their right to this position, but are ultimately chosen by the Ulfric based on loyalty. Hati and Skoll rank after Lupa, Freki, and Geri, but are generally alphas. Notably, they do not have to fight the Freki or Geri for their position. They are named after the Jotun's that transformed into wolves in order to chase the Sun and the Moon in Norse mythology.
An official challenger to the Ulfric, named after Fenrisulfr or Fenrir, the wolf that is destined to kill Odin in Norse mythology.
Freki and Geri
The Ulfric's second and third in command. Named after Odin's wolves of Norse mythology.
A lupa who declares herself independent of the Ulfric and challenges the Ulfric to reclaim her. Any male wolf may win her by having sex with her. The male wolves will do anything, including kill each other, to win her. Anita is forced to do this in Blue Moon under the control of Raina's munin. She is ultimately reclaimed by Richard in one of the cabins. SEE: Freyja.
Named for Lupa, the mother of Romulus and Remus, the position is reserved for the Ulfric's chosen mate. Although the lupa need not fight for her/his position, the position of most dominant female (or male in the case of female Ulfrics) is determined by conflict. The term is Latin for "she-wolf" and "prostitute."
A meeting place for the werewolves, possibly their place of power. For Richard's clan, there is a huge rock that the Ulfric sits on that looks like a throne, hence Thronos Rokke clan. In Blue Moon, the lupanar of the Oak Tree Clan has an incredibly huge oak tree in it.
The munin are the spirits or memories of the dead pack members, named after Munin, Odin's raven of memory in Norse mythology. Live pack members can "call the munin," drawing on memories or abilities of former members. Various packs appear to preserve the munin by different methods. For example, the werewolves of the Thronos Rokke clan preserve the munin of dead pack members by eating their bodies. Anita has called the munin of Verne's pack. She can also channel the munin of former Lupa of the Thronos Rokke clan, Raina. This is possible because Anita personally killed Raina, and her necromancy powers and ties with the Ulfric of the clan allowed Raina to bind her munin to Anita. Anita can use Raina's munin to heal badly injured lycanthropes, although this requires her to be at least somewhat sexually attracted to her patient and Raina will usually try to extort a price for the healing, usually something unpleasant or embarrassing to Anita.
The name of the St. Louis clan of werewolves, named for the "throne rock" on which their Ulfric sits.
The ultimate alpha male of the pack. The Ulfric will be replaced by whoever defeats him in combat. In theory it does not have to be a death fight, and the Ulfric can in fact step down, but the new Ulfric will usually kill the old one to prevent a dominance split, as Jacob intended in Narcissus in Chains. Theoretically, female weres may become Ulfric, but female Ulfrics are rare because the strongest males normally have a significant strength advantage over even the strongest females. The term is a derivative of the Norse "ulfr," meaning "wolf."
St. Louis's wereleopards are substantially less numerous than its werewolf and wererat counterparts. A likely reason for this phenomenon is the low contagion characteristic of cat-based lycanthropy.
The social rituals of the leopard pard is more difficult to discern in comparison to the wolf pack. There could be many reasons for this difficulty. It is possible their smaller numbers or Gabriel's decision to reshape the pard members into submissive prostitutes warped their social structures beyond recognition. Another possibility is their introduction as a group occurred later in the series (Burnt Offerings - book 7) as opposed to the wolves and they have not been featured in as much detail as the wolf pack.
The principle social characteristic of the pard members is a need for physical contact as a source of emotional reassurance. Pard members frequently rub against one another and against Anita as if they were cats.
An interesting and notable characteristic in wereleopard terminology is the existence of three different titles for their leaders: Nimir-Raj/Nimir-Ra, leoparde lionne, leopard passant. The titles do not affect the functional, internal authority of the leader, but they do describe the type of leader currently in power.
"pard" is the term wereleopards use to refer to their group. (In Middle English, "pard" referred to panthers or leopards).
A given pard's queen is its "Nimir-Ra,", and its king is its "Nimir-Raj." (Nimir appears to be a version of "Namir," the word for panther in Hindi, Arabic, and Hebrew. "Raj" is Hindi for king or ruler.) Nimir-Raj and -Ra (leopard kings and queens) are apparently unusual. Some pards (who number only a fraction of the membership of the typical werewolf pack) are led by a dominant known as either Léoparde lionné or lion passant.
Léoparde lionné and lion passant
Terms based in French heraldry to describe a wereleopard leader. According to Gwen in Burnt Offerings, a "léoparde lionné" refers to a rampant leopard—an alpha who is a brave protector or avenger such as Anita. Gwen states that a "lion passant" refers to a sleeping lion—an alpha that leads but does not protect.
In fact, the pard's understanding of heraldry appears to be in error. Under standard heraldry terms, passant means a walking animal (three legs on the ground, one leg up), while dormant means a sleeping animal. The term "léoparde lionné," however, is used correctly—the term referred to a leopard in the typical pose of a heraldic lion, i.e. rampant.
The wererats refer to their clan as the rodere. They are led by Rafael, their Rat King. Rafael's rats include a disproportionately high number of soldiers and mercenaries, and are more likely to use guns than most other lycanthropes. Along with the werewolves and werehyenas, they make up of Jean-Claude's security at the Circus of the Damned.
Rafael has allied his Rodere with Richard and Anita and, through them, to the Thronos Rokke clan and Blooddrinker wereleopard clan. Rafael's clan is known as the Dark Crown, and Rafael has a crown branded into his arm to show he is the king. During Narcissus in Chains, Claudia expresses relief that the Rodere don't have something like the munin.
Raphael also offered himself as Anita's new pomme de sang, to be more closely bound to Anita and Jean-Claude.
Rom - King/Leader
Rodere - Clan/tribe of wererats
The werehyenas are one of the major power groups in the St. Louis shapeshifter community, together with the werewolves and wererats. Their leader, Narcissus has recruited only men as werehyenas, because hyenas in nature are matrilineal, and since Narcissus is a Hermaphrodite s/he won't have to fear including a female alpha into their group as s/he will not take another female werehyena into the group.
Oba- Female clan leader.
The ability to take the shape of a swan is a hereditary condition not related to lycanthropy, which seems limited to predators. Changing shape is not tied to the cycle of the moon, and does not appear to interfere with carrying children to term during pregnancy. Swanmanes are almost exclusively female. The few male exceptions (known as Drakes) are born specifically to the task of rulership over the swanmanes, although their level of power varies. For example, Donnovan Reece is a Swan King, while Kaspar Gunderson was merely a Swan Prince. Despite the number of living drakes, only one rules over the swanmanes at a time. Power varies among the swanmanes as well; there are occasionally Swan Queens. This kind of shapeshifting is almost certainly a genetic curse passed through the generations. Swanmanes are generally dismissed as unimportant by the shapeshifter community, except as food (metaphysical or otherwise). Drakes (and possibly the manes, although the later is unknown) have unusually long lives, even for shape shifters. Kaspar Gunderson was hundreds of years old, but did not appear to be any older than 30.
At no time thus far in the books has it been stated that swanmanes either do or do not have a hybrid form. The only forms exhibited have been human and full swan.
Mentioned in Danse Macabre, the werelions of St. Louis are a pride of mostly-submissives who were led by their Rex Joseph, Who in a sense turned his back on Anita and Anita turned her back on him. He ran away with his Regina leaving his pride alone for Haven to take control of.
The name werelions use to refer to their groups. Groups of regular lions are also called prides.
Rex and Regina
A given pride's king is its "Rex," and its queen is its "Regina." ("Rex" is Latin for absolute ruler or king, and "Regina" is Latin for queen.) It is mentioned in Bullet that some prides are run by their Regina and not their Rex, because all the males want to do is fight and be dominant, while the females worry about the pride as a group.
Throughout the series, the only weresnakes Anita has encountered are werecobras and (perhaps more indirectly) wereanacondas.
Of the werecobras, the leaders are called Kadra (female) and Kashyapa (male). They have the ability to have offspring like mammals or like reptiles.
The queen of this group is called an Ursa, which might imply there are more than a handful of members but Anita only meets a few. The only Werebear Anita has interacted with was Boone, a personality of Chimera, during the events of Narcissus in Chains.
One of the rarest forms of lycanthropes, there is only one Weretiger in St. Louis, named Christine.
In The Harlequin, another were-tiger appears named Soledad. It is presumed that she is running from an arranged marriage. This leads to the discussion of Were-tiger society.
There are only three clans of tigers within the United States, White tigers, Black tigers, and Red tigers there are also Blue tigers and Gold/yellow tigers, But the only ones in the USA are clan less. The clans mostly keep too themselves. Their culture is also divided about purebloods, inherited lycanthropes, and attacked. Being given tiger lycanthropy is seen as a reward for a job well done. They think it is a sin to give it to someone not worthy. Tiger lycanthropy is one of the harder-to-catch strains. It is also one of the few that can be inherited, as well as caught. Tigers tend not to announce they are infected and entire families may stay in "the closet." Tigers have forced their clan members to marry other clan members, sometimes to keep the strain amongst themselves. Most have arranged marriages, they have been known to abduct known tigers, if an arranged marriage cannot be done. They are also a matriarchal (led by a woman/queen) society, unlike most of the other lycanthrope societies which are patriarchal (Led by a male/king). During book 17 in the series Anita travels to Las Vegas where she is immersed in Weretiger lore, particularly when she 'calls' some of the tigers, which is when Victor calls her a Little Queen.
Anita was cut by a golden tiger named Soledad during the events of Harlequin. The golden tigers were/are the most powerful tigers in existence, they ruled over the four tribes. Some Golden Tigers, beyond animals to call for Vampires, have been hidden for their own safety as well as preservation of the species. Anita carries all five colors of tigers, which leads to the necessary trouble. It is notable, however, that she has tigers that are very unnatural colors such as the rainbow, as well as they are not classified, or tangible concepts merely what she sees in her minds eye. Each of the colors have special abilities designated by their color Gold/yellow is earth, White is metal(and it seems in Cynric can create small amounts of static electricity), Red is fire, Black is water, Blue is air.
Also, unlike most mammal lycanthropes, Weretigers have developed a method to carry a pregnancy to full term using the partnership of their males. Victor (Son of Maximilian Master of the City of Las Vegas and Bibiana the White Tiger Clan Queen) in particular admits to being taught this method since he was very young. Anita benefits from this as by this time in the series she is having trouble controlling her tangible lycanthrope transformations. On top of that purebred weretigers also tend to have tiger eyes even without the normal requisite of staying in animal form too long. Some are even so lucky as to have their hair represent the color of tiger they are, this is particularly relevant with Domino, who is both a black and white weretiger. It is noted in the book that depending on which he transformed into last his hair changes color. Not darker or lighter, rather complete follicle color changes. See Skin Trade
It is the name of a female Weretiger Alpha with the ability to call tigers of the same color as they are. In history, Little Queens split away from their clan or tribe once this power awakens due to the extreme dominance streaks the Queen of the clan/tribe because, in theory, they share the same amount of dominance. Personality excluded. However in recent history, during the weretigers fleeing from Asian countries for being hunted, Little Queens became too valuable to simply send off and were kept in the security of their clan until the time the clan grew enough to be split safely.
The only weredogs mentioned are Janet Talbot and her son. Janet says that her shapeshifting ability is inherited and is not tied to the moon; they are able to resist changing during the full moon if they choose to. This enables them to carry offspring without risk of miscarriage.
There is only one werefox mentioned, Gilbert (also called "Gil"), who is exceptionally timid.
- Also notes that the werefoxes for the majority are hidden in China and remain the only weres in the country after the government had local wizards search and drive out the other were groups and witches.
Primarily located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, there hasn't been any mention of them in St. Louis. They are ruled by the Vampire and self-proclaimed Aztec goddess Itzpapalotl (Obsidian Butterfly)
Panweres have the power to transform into more than one type of lycanthrope. The one panwere mentioned in the Anitaverse was Chimera who, ironically, was a famous Lycanthrope hunter named Orlando King, who was capable of transforming into a werelion, wereleopard, werehyena, wereanaconda, werewolf, and werebear. The reason for this particular case of lycanthropy is that his pride wanted him to die as a human so he ended up contracting multiple types of lycanthropy, finally ending up in the Amazon where he finally contracted wereanaconda before his first full moon. The tribe he had been sent to kill revered him as a god for his ability to transform to multiple forms.
Not surprisingly, however, he developed a Multiple Personality disorder. Chimera himself is the name of only a consciousness that formed in order to protect King's body. The other revealed personalities were Coranus (Wereanaconda) who led the other members of the anaconda tribe during his and Anita's initial meeting. Boone (Werebear) who met with Anita in her household along with a half dozen other representatives for missing/concerned members, reporting his missing Ursa. It is also notable that while he could change forms according to lycanthropy, he also changed his human form to match. This is noted with Boone, described as a simply 'large' man with a voice deep enough it hurt to hear, while Orlando King is a mildly muscular with a growing paunch that had developed since he retired.
Anita Blake was also believed to be a panwere by Chimera because Micah (the Nimir-Raj of the Maneaters pard) told him in order to postpone both his own death and the death of others. It is also revealed that Chimera impregnated the hermaphrodite Narcissus in the epilogue to Narcissus in Chains.
Since the Harlequin Anita is shown to have several beasts residing inside of her. Leopard, wolf, lion, five colors of tiger, and possibly an extinct animal, given to her by Marmee Noir during one of their few metaphysical encounters it is believed that Marmee Noir can transform into this animal due to living millions of years before the modern viruses that destroy one another in the blood stream, rather they can coexist. It is also revealed in the Harlequin that another Vampire is also like this, who calls himself Merlin, Anita speculates that he is the cause of the legends in the Anitaverse.
Although she does not shift she comes close a few times and her animals can appear in spirit form when she is in danger or interaction with similar animals. She staves off the transformation and internal damage with a method learned from the weretigers where she 'sends' the beast down a metaphysical chain to an actual lycanthrope that can fulfill the beast's desire to escape. This appears to satisfy the need to transform for all the beasts that she carries.
A Lamia is a half human, half snake. They were presumed to be extinct, but at least one still survives. Melanie was Mr. Oliver's servant but when he died she began working at the Circus of the Damned. They are also believed to be "true immortals", as Anita Blake tried and failed to kill her. They can change from human to a half snake form (snake tail/human torso). They have retractable fangs that can inject a lethal poison. Their fangs also inject a substance that can change a human into a Lamia, which was what she was trying to do to her harem in Circus of the Damned.
A Naga is a snake-like Hindu creature that is immortal. In The Lunatic Cafe one naga survived being skinned alive, by someone who wanted the skin for shape-shifting. However, that plan was foiled since Nagas are immortal and the spell for skin shape-shifting requires the original occupant of the skin to be dead by the end of the spell.
Nagas are known as the guardians of pearls and raindrops, in Hindu legend. Their skin has a pearl on the forehead. They are usually shown as cobras/snakes, or human-headed snakes, but could take on a full human form.
Witches could potentially shape-shift, with the proper spell and with the skin from a werecreature. Shifting this way has benefits since the person gains all the power of the skin but is not tied to simply changing with a full moon. Unfortunately, for the spell to work properly, the werecreature has to die at the end of the spell.
A witch was also responsible for Kaspar Gunderson's ability to shift into a swan, she cast a spell on him, hoping it would make him more compassionate.