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Fiendish Fish

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"If you yell 'barracuda!', people are gonna go, 'huh? what?'. But if you yell 'shark!', we'll have a panic on our hands on the fourth of July."
Mayor Vaughn, Jaws

When you think about dangerous underwater creatures, you would probably think sharks, Giant Squids or piranha in river waters. But sometimes, the menace comes from far less romanticized menaces: fish.

Not that sharks and piranha aren't fishes themselves, but for some reason, those are far more (unjustly) widespread as vicious all-devouring monsters in culture than, say, catfish or tigerfish. And yet, lesser-known species can prove to be a serious threat under the right conditions: for example, the goofy-looking catfish can grow to be absolutely humongous and can be more than strong enough to drown human adults if they so wish.

Understandably quite frequent in Under the Sea settings, where they can make quite the basic enemy to be faced, especially in video games. They may also be one of the hazards of an Eldritch Ocean Abyss, some of which may be alien enough to cross over into an Animalistic Abomination.


Super-Trope to:

Examples of these should go on their respective pages.

See also Sea Monster. Compare Feathered Fiend ("general" evil bird trope), Never Smile at a Crocodile, Giant Enemy Crab and Tentacled Terror for scary non-fish aquatic animals.


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    Card Games 

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami:
    • There are fish zombies, but they're small and unable to do more than flop, above water.
    • A very toothy, ugly deep sea fish is described:
      A tiny deep sea fish investigated the probe from up close, startling Ami by filling the screen with a set of fangs that even Rabixtrel would have envied.

    Films — Animation 
  • Finding Nemo features the barracuda that ate Nemo's mother and all the other eggs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: Played for Laughs. Dr. Evil asked his henchmen for a Shark Pool with Frickin' Laser Beams attached to their heads, but they had to settle for "ill-tempered mutant seabass". He gets his wish in later movies, however.
  • Barracuda is a Jaws ripoff, released in 1978, featuring a far lesser-known species of predatory fish.
  • Beneath features a rowboat full of teens that comes under assault from a gigantic and very hungry freshwater catfish.
  • Devil Fish is another Jaws ripoff that replaces the shark with a non-descript mutant fish-cepholopod hybrid.
  • Frankenfish is a monster movie set in Louisiana about a group of oversized mutant snakeheads terrorizing a small village and fishing community in the bayou.
  • King Kong (2005): In a deleted scene included in the extended cut, the rescue party are attacked by Piranhadon, a giant carnivorous fish living in the mangrove swamps of Skull Island.
  • Leonard Part 6 features a stealth assassin fish.
  • Life of Pi: During Pi's dream sequence, he imagines a hybrid of an anglerfish and a squid rising from the depths.
  • The Phantom Menace: Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Jar Jar run into a series of huge aquatic predators on the oceans of Naboo, including a crab-fish hybrid known as an Opee See Killer, and a cave-dwellling Colo Claw Fish, both of which have More Teeth than the Osmond Family. However, they're food for the even larger Sando Aqua Monster.
  • Snakehead Swamp is a Syfy Channel Original Movie that features mutant snakeheads as killer fish.

  • Dido Twite: One of the books features nasty fish that eat anything that gets into the water.
  • The Future Is Wild describes the lurkfish, a massive gar-like swamp predator with frond-like growths for camouflage and the power to shock its prey into submission like an electric eel.
  • Humanx Commonwealth: In For Love of Mother-Not, some of the kidnappers Flinx is pursuing over a huge lake on Moth are gobbled up — with their two-man watercraft — by a gargantuan fish called a penestral. Flinx's wilderness-savvy companion remarks that the fifteen-meter penestral, while good-sized for its kind, would rate as only a mid-range predator in the sea-sized lakes farther north: the real challenge there is fishing for oboweir, a species that eats penestrals.
  • The Kane Chronicles: In The Red Pyramid, the inner part of the House of Life is surrounded by a moat filled with highly aggressive, meat-eating tigerfish.
  • Redwall features several species of fish treated as dangerous due to their size relative to the Talking Animal characters. These are mostly pike and eels, although Doomwyte features a wels (a kind of catfish) living in an underground pool considered an oracle by Korvus Scurr and his snake advisor Sicariss. In truth, Sicariss only pretends that she can talk to the wels due to the fish constantly moving its mouth and rising near the surface after associating the crow's presence with food (as he regularly throws in small reptiles and amphibians). The wels then gets in a fight with an adder and loses.
  • In We Dont Eat Our Classmates, a children's book, Walter the goldfish tries to eat Penelope the baby T. rex.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In River Monsters, Jeremy Wade tries to hunt down the aquatic creatures responsible for Real Life accidents, human deaths and/or legends around the globe. And you'll soon find out that many, many fish can be dangerous.
  • Walking with Dinosaurs: Chased By Dinosaurs has Nigel exploring the seven most dangerous seas in history. Two of the species he encounters are giant killer fish, Dunkleosteus and Xiphactinus.
  • Walking With Monsters features the giant carnivorous fish Hyneria, which is portrayed as a Prehistoric Monster in its quest to hunt down our amphibian ancestors. It's an apex predator which is large enough to scare off sharks, and powerful enough to drag itself onto a beach in pursuit of prey like a killer whale.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons features, among assorted water-dwelling monsters, oversized versions of common fishes (including eels, gars and pikes), as well as afancs (whale-sized fish capable of creating whirlpools by swimming in tight circles), territorial ramfish with curling horns and vermes (freshwater predators large enough to eat an ox whole).
  • Exalted: The armored terror (that's the actual in-universe name) is a thirty-foot-long carnivorous fish covered in armor-like scales and provided with a beaklike pair of fangs easily capable of severing limbs. It normally hunts fish in shallow water, but it's perfectly happy to go after boats and people. Physically, it sounds a lot like an oversized Dunkleosteus.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Numerous giant versions of mundane fishes exist, including giant gars and amphibious swamp barracudas capable of pursuing their prey on land.
    • Warm, shallow seas are home to armored dunkleostei, which can rapidly open their mouths to suck prey into their shearing jaws.
    • Tizheruks are long-bodied freshwater fish up to fifteen feet long. Their flesh is almost entirely transparent, making them excellent ambush predators — odds are you won't see one until its jaws are already closing on you.
  • Rifts: The air fish of Wormwood are monstrous, airborne and very aggressive fishes used as minions and attack dogs by the forces of the Unholy, which they serve willingly and eagerly.

    Video Games 
  • In Balloon Fight, flying too close to the surface will attract the Balloon Fish, a monstrous fish that will gobble up anything that comes in its range.
  • Card City Nights: The card "Demon Fish" depicts an evil-looking fish.
  • Chantelise: They have Palette Swap versions of red, yellow, blue, and green, and appear in multiple places, mainly in the Aquan Ruins:
    • In the first area, the Wetlands, there's red and yellow fish in the water, that are part of the Kill Enemies to Open lock on the next area.
    • In the Silent Church, a fish about as long as Elise is tall, must be fought to get Silver Gauntlets from the treasure chest revealed after. The fish is revealed after breaking all the candles.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze features several fishes, such as the Finleys, as enemies that damage the Kongs on contact.
  • In Drawn to Life, the boss of the beach-world is a giant fish called the Angler King. Not only does it fly around at great speeds, have very sharp teeth, and very much wants to eat the player, it also has a spout on it's back it uses to create more evil fish. These fish resemble fish-bones and are made of shadow; they chase you throughout the fight, and are also common elsewhere in the water areas.
  • In one update of Dwarf Fortress, an ill-thought out rule caused carp to become terrifying, almost indestructible monsters.note 
  • The Elder Scrolls: The aptly named slaughterfish are highly aggressive predators that can grow to six feet in length and will readily attack humans. They're extremely widespread, and their resistance to pollution means that they can be found in almost every body of water in the world — and they often hunt in groups, of course. At one point, Lake Rumare was home to such a large population of the things that swimming in it was tantamount to suicide.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy: In the fourth and fifth games, there are robot fish enemies in the Waste Disposal Plant and the Iron Fortress, respectively.
  • In Feeding Frenzy, the ocean is basically a giant hellhole where every single fish that is bigger than you are wants you dead and in their bellies — not that different from Real Life oceans, mind you — and you yourself have to gobble hapless, smaller fishes to grow bigger than the rest.
  • Kirby has the Blipper and their variations, one of the most common underwater enemies in the series. They're little more than fishes with diving goggles, and usually do harm Kirby on contact. There is also Fatty Puffer, a boss in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, which is a spikeless blowfish.
  • The Legendary Starfy, being set mostly underwater, has several fish species acting as enemies.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: Gyorg, the boss of the Great Bay Temple, is a giant purple fish with a scary set of huge teeth. It is responsible for the murkiness and the dangerous warming of the Great Bay waters, threatening the local Zora population.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Morpheel, the boss of the Lakebed Temple, is a disgusting mix of a cyclopean eel and a coelacanth with anemone-like tentacles around its maw to boot.
    • Skullfish are recurring enemies resembling skeletal fish with jaws bristling with sharp teeth. They're generally entirely skeletal besides the usual Glowing Eyelights of Undeath, but the ones in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess still have some sort of fleshy core inside their ribcages. They are, of course, highly aggressive.
  • Magical Fisher Agnes: The aquatic enemies include the Demon Fish, whose description states that "it just swims there... menacingly".
  • Ōkami has the Dead Fish, a Youkai that looks like a carp wearing a kimono. Unusually, they are found only on land, and are able to fly thanks to their huge fins. They are said to be the spirits of women who drowned themselves into the sea. There is also Whopper, a monstrous catfish that swallowed the reflection of the moon in Agata Forest and swallowed Kokari's dog Ume whole.
  • Pokémon:
    • Gyarados is a ferocious, long-bodied fish so powerful that it can level cities, and is renowned for its extremely bad temper. Gold/Silver/Crystal features a Red Gyarados (most are blue) rampaging in the aptly-named Lake of Rage. In the game a red Gyarardos evolves from a golden Magikarp.
    • Whiscash are known for being intensely territorial catfish Pokémon that can cause earthquakes stretching over a three mile radius, and are known to eat just about anything.
    • Gorebyss don't look particularly ferocious, but they are known for being cruel Pokémon who hunt by stabbing their prey with their long mouths and sucking out their bodily fluids.
    • Wishiwashi are, individually, very small and weak fish. However, they have the ability to school together in sync to form a giant, powerful fish-like monster still visibly composed of individual fishes. School Form Wishiwashi are very powerful, enough so to be known as the Demon of the Sea. Even Gyarados flee from these things!
    • Basculin are bass-like fish with powerful jaws and violent attitudes; water bodies where they settle are quickly emptied of other living things, and they're known as "the thugs of the lake". They also fight incessantly among each other, as red-striped and blue-striped Basculin detest one another.
    • Arrokuda and Barraskewda from Pokémon Sword and Shield are barracuda-like fish who, when hungry, will react violently to every single movement in their vicinity. Arrokuda will bite anything that resembles food, while Barraskewda will just propel itself with its tail and try to pierce the prey.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Cheep Cheeps are the basic underwater enemies throughout the franchise, looking like round red fishes with feathered pectoral fins and a yellow mowhawk-like dorsal fins.. They have many, many subspecies and some individuals acted as bosses in the series, like Cheepskipper in New Super Mario Bros. and the Big Cheep Cheep in Paper Mario: Sticker Star.
  • Sunless Sea, in addition to the expected Threatening Sharks, has "regular" fish baddies, namely the Beloved and the Behemoustache. Beloved are rather inoffensive flatfishes that only attack as retaliation, and the Behemoustache are slightly more aggressive, looking like giant fishes with huge teeth and mostly an amazing looking moustache that entrances everyone who looks at it because of its sheer magnificence.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • The Balloon Fish from Balloon Fight appears in the Summit stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (despite it being based on Ice Climber), swallowing every fighter that stays in the water for too long and instantly KOing them.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl has the Feyesh, an enemy in The Subspace Emissary mode that is a goldfish with a giant, single eye for a head and electric tentacles.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: There are some fish-like enemies that seem to be floating in the air, like Gully.
  • Female blue marlin from Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania are large and fierce enough to pose a threat to baby pilot whales and leatherback turtles.

    Western Animation 
  • The Loud House: Discussed "A Novel Idea" when Lincoln pretends the fish in the dentist's office is a savage beast to pass the time.


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