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Since there is just one Devil Fruit for a specific ability, how does one know about what ability it holds?
For example, Buggy and Teach knew about the powers their Devil Fruits would have provided them.
It is mentioned that they had read about it.
But if the fruit occurs only once till the user dies, how did they find out about the fruits' powers?

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There are a number of ways to know the abilities of a Devil's Fruit.

  • There's a Devil's Fruit book in the Grand Line, which lists several Devil's Fruits. Sanji mentions this book in Chapter 464. Spandam and Teach also make a mention of it.

    Devil's Fruit book

  • For Devil's Fruits whose ability is not known before, it can only be found out after actually eating it. In Chapter 385, when Kalifa and Kaku eat unknown Devil's Fruits, Lucci tells them that they will begin to sense the changes in due time.

    Eater will realise the ability in time

  • When a Devil's Fruit user dies, their Devil's Fruit will respawn, and hence its abilities would be known.

In SBS Volume 48, the author Oda Eiichiro promises that a certain professor will eventually appear in the story, and explain what Devil's Fruits really are. We can expect to know more about identification of Devil's Fruits when that happens.

  • Let's assume that X ate an unknown devil-fruit and after sometime began sensing some changes. How will X know what type of power it is? How will X knows whether he can turn into a lion or a goat or smoke or fire, or knife, for an example? – SudoRahul Nov 18 '13 at 7:27
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    @R.J The assumption here is that the after eating the devil's fruit, the eater's body will begin sensing changes which will tell him the ability. This understanding gets better over time. For example, if Shanks didn't tell Luffy what fruit he had eaten, Luffy would anyway realise soon that his body has become rubber. For Zoan types, you would pick the instincts and traits of the said animal, say your start running faster like a leopard, and so on. For Logia types, it is not so obvious. Maybe their body just "feels" it, for example, Ace starts feeling hotter or Kuzan feels cold, and so on. – Masked Man Nov 18 '13 at 7:49
  • So far, we have only seen people eating the fruits whose power is already known, or they eat the unknown fruit and then come back knowing its powers. The intermediate steps of how exactly they found out has not been shown, most likely because Oda wants to keep it a suspense till that professor appears and explains. – Masked Man Nov 18 '13 at 7:53
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It's simple, the Punk Hazard Arc explains it all. Devil Fruits respawn, otherwise there is no way of telling which fruit has which power without eating it.

For eg :- If you were to eat a banana shaped Devil Fruit and die, the fruit would regenerate into the nearest banana, like the Salamander Devil Fruit regenerated into an apple.

Overtime, people have noted down these fruit types, and that's how they know.

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