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Dragonite looks nothing like Dragonair. They can't be related.

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Dragonair may also be based on the imugi, a proto-dragon that resembles a snake and lives in water or caves, much like Dragonair. After an imugi lives a thousand years, a jewel (called a Yeouiju) will fall from the sky. If the imugi catches it, it will become a true dragon. The jewels on Dragonair's neck and tail might also be a reference to Chinese dragons's associations with pearls.

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You can see the snake-like Dragonair has this jewel as part of it's design on it's neck. (And may I just say Dragonair and it's shiny are beautiful?) Dragonair is also part of the Water 1 Egg group, which further ties into it's possible Imugi origins.

Dragonair

Dragonair

Dragonite also looks like common depictions of Dragons, hence the "True Dragon" part.

Dragonite

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that too might be true....
anyways both answer are good
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Its because of Dragonair's Shed Skin ability. Its like a snake. it sheds its final layer to grow into Dragonite. The skin underneath is a lighter yellow or orange (or green) color.
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note- this answer is copied

Hope I Helped!

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ok thanks...