“This shell was made to order. That's why it fits me so well. I mean, how cool do I look?” —Koopa Troopa, Paper Mario
Koopa Troopas (usually Koopas, occasionally Troopas, Japanese ノコノコ Nokonoko) are common enemies in the Mario series, usually displayed as foot soldiers of the Koopa Troop, under the direct leadership of Bowser. Since Super Mario 64, however, many Koopas have appeared who do not work for Bowser (or any other villain), some of whom even act as allies to Mario during his adventures. Koopa Troopas are turtle-like creatures with removable shells that come in many different colors, with red and green Koopa Troopas being the most common. Koopas, along with Goombas, are some of Mario's most common foes. Koopas are popular for their many uses of their shells in the Mario series.
The Shellcreeper, was the "ancestor" of the Koopa Troopa. When creating Super Mario Bros., a few changes were made to the enemies, including the ability to jump on them in order to damage them.
The Koopa Troopa's name comes from Bowser's Japanese name, クッパ Kuppa, which is itself derived from the Korean dish of the same name. The last name Troopa, is taken from the word "troop" in reference to the Koopas' role as foot soldiers in Bowser's army, with the a likely added on to make the name rhyme. It could also be viewed as a corruption of the word "trooper", in the same way that Paratroopa could be analogous to "paratrooper". Their Japanese name, ノコノコ Nokonoko,means "unconcernedly," although the latter use is usually written in hiragana.
While often referred to as turtles, they actually bear more resemblance to real-world tortoises than they do turtles. For example, they seem to be land-based, having no real affinity for water and lacking webbing, and the rounder, less streamlined shape of their shells more closely resembles tortoises. Additionally, the Koopa Troopas' ability to remove their shells is not true to actual turtles or tortoises, although popular culture often overlook this fact.
1. "Koopa Troopa." Super Mario Wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013. <http://www.mariowiki.com/Koopa_Troopa>.