Fish are an essential creature - mostly in the background - to the entire How to Train Your Dragon Franchise.
Fish are a large, diverse group of vertebrate aquatic creatures that bear gills and fins, and can reside in freshwater and seawater. Some species are even capable of breathing air with lung-like organs and can cross land for a short time. However, Fish are almost entirely dependent on water. Fish as a group is extremely diverse, living in many water habitats across the world at a variety of temperatures. They range in size from barely visible to the size of a whale (which is a mammal, not a fish). They come in many colors and shapes.
In the How to Train Your Dragon Franchise, fish imagery is typically not very precise, and often a "generic" fish is shown rather than details of a specific species. The exception is in the game, School of Dragons, which is a science-based game. In that game, species information is detailed for educational purposes.
For the most part, in actuality and in the Franchise, a fish's use in for Food. Humans have probably been eating fish since humans came to be. In the Franchise, fish are also the main - or at least a significant portion of - diet of all dragons. Their desire to eat fish is in part how the Vikings are able to train them, starting with Toothless in the first movie, How to train Your Dragon. Toothless seems especially fond of mackerel. One particular exception is most dragon species aversion to Eel. Eel causes illness in dragons.
To catch fish, dragons seem to have numerous hunting behaviors to accomplish this. Some dragons like Toothless simply stick their head into water and grab any fish present; however Toothless was also grounded at this time and may have other behaviors when able to fly. Others, like the Monstrous Nightmare, dive into water and round up shoals of fish by circling around them. The Bewilderbeast gulps large amounts of fish before spitting them out into the air for its dragons to feed on. In the game, Dragons: Rise of Berk, dragons that are able to fish dive straight into the sea and disappear, reappearing with a mouth full of fish.
Types of Fish Seen in the Franchise
- "The male anglerfish is a lot smaller than the female. When the male anglerfish matures, its digestive system stops functioning."
- ―Fish Fact in School of Dragons
Angler Fish are saltwater fish seen in the game, School of Dragons fishing activity. In game, the player must fly out to sea on a Gronckle with a special Deep-sea fishing rod to catch these fish. Only Gronckles can be used, because they are able to hover on one place over the sea.
Anglerfish are actually a large group of fish of the Order Lophiiformes. and occur worldwide. In actuality, Monkfish are a type of commercially important Anglerfish in Scandinavian seas. Monkfish differ in appearance, though, to the one portrayed in School of Dragons.
Arctic Char are a fresh and saltwater species seen in the game, School of Dragons fishing activity. They can be fished for in arctic locations in the game, and were introduced to the game at the release of Icestorm Island.
Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus) are in the same Family as Salmon and Trout (Salmonidae) and have a similar appearance and life cycle. Char spawn in freshwater and live in saltwater.
Though Hiccup refers to the cod in the movie as an "Icelandic" Cod, it is most likely the Atlantic Cod species. This fish is of great commercial value to Scandinavia.
Blindfish can be found in the Whispering Death caves underneath Berk in the game, School of Dragons. This location is not immediately available to the player, but is after completion of the Quest "Explore the Dark Depths". No special rod is required to fish this location.
The term Blind fish is actually used for any number of fish species that can't see or have under-developed eyes. The fish referred to in School of Dragons is most likely Astyanax jordani, which is native to Mexico.
Brown Trout are freshwater fish seen in the game, School of Dragons fishing activity. They can be caught in most freshwater fishing locations in the game, and are especially abundant in the Wilderness area near Mulch.
Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) are in the same Family as Salmon and Char (Salmonidae) and have a similar shape and life cycle. Native to Europe, these fish have been introduced all over the world in suitable habitats.
In the game, Dragon Training Legends, the player must guide a Scauldron through the sea, avoiding Viking trash and eating tasty fish. Though not specifically named, one such fish appears to be a Dolphinfish. They strangely seem to lack the crest-like dorsal fin that the species is known for, but they otherwise look normal.
Dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus), also known as Mahi-Mahi or Dorado, live in temperate to tropical saltwater worldwide.
See the page Eels for more information.
Though no fish specified as haddock are seen, this fish is most notable in the Franchise as being the last name of Hiccup and his family. Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) are located in the oceans all around Scandinavia and are in the same family as Cod.
Halibut are saltwater fish seen in the game, School of Dragons fishing activity. When fed to dragons, they give 10 energy points to the Dragon.
Halibut, specifically Atlantic Halibut , are found in the North Atlantic and would have been available to historic Vikings. Halibut is a type of flat fish who lies on its left side and the eyes migrate to the right side of the head as it ages.
In the game, Dragon Training Legends, the player must guide a Scauldron through the sea, avoiding Viking trash and eating tasty fish. Though not specifically named, one such fish appears to be a Hawkfish.
Hawkfish are members of the Cirrhitidae Family. All members of this family live in tropical waters and would not have been encountered by historical Vikings. Many Hawkfish species have some sort of reddish coloring on part or all of their bodies, such as the Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus).
Herring are saltwater fish seen in the game, School of Dragons fishing activity. When fed to dragons, they give 5 energy points to the Dragon.
The Herring encountered by Vikings are the Atlantic Herring (Clupea harengus) and are a very important commercial fish worldwide. Humans have been eating Herring for a few millennia, and is the main ingredient in such foods as "Pickled Herring" and "Kippers".
Mackerel are mentioned here and there in the How to Train Your Dragon (Franchise), but seen only once in the Dragons: Race to the Edge, Season 1 episode, "Total Nightmare". The fish seen is not an accurate portrayal of a mackerel, but rather the fairly blunt-headed generic fish seen throughout the Franchise.
The term "Mackerel" is actually used to a number of different species. The species that Vikings most likely had contact with is the Atlantic Mackerel (Scomber scombrus). These are important food fish that travel in schools near the shores.
Minnows can be caught and are used as bait in the School of Dragons fishing minigame. Minnows also appear as food for the Scualdron in the online game Dragon Trainer Legends.
Like the Arctic Char, Northern Wolffish can be found on Icestorm Island.
Along with Blind Fish, this fish can also be found in underground lakes.
Paradise Fish appear as food for the Scauldron in the online minigame Dragon Trainer Legends.
Perch are freshwater fish from the School of Dragons fishing minigame.
Pufferfish appear in the online minigame Dragon Trainer Legends as food for the Scauldron. They can inflate and deflate, with them not being able to be eaten while inflated.
This fish was fed to Toothless during the second time Hiccup met him in the cove. He placed it in a basket before presenting it to Toothless. They are freshwater fish from the School of Dragons fishing minigame.
A deceased sturgeon dressed like Stoick the Vast is briefly seen in Fright of Passage. Sturgeon jerky is Viking food mentioned by Gobber the Belch in Frozen. Bucket and Mulch also begin slapping each other with sturgeons when their bludgeons are stolen by Smothering Smokebreaths in Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.
Tuna are related to Mackerel, and "true" tuna belong in the Genus Thunnus. Tuna species inhabit temperate to tropical waters, so were probably not encountered by historical Vikings.
- "Viperfish have many photophores, light producing organs, located along the side of its body."
- ―Fish Fact from School of Dragons
Viperfish are saltwater fish seen in the game, School of Dragons fishing activity. In game, the player must fly out to sea on a Gronckle with a special Deep-sea fishing rod to catch these fish. Only Gronckles can be used, because they are able to hover on one place over the sea.
Viperfish are members of the Genus Chauliodus and live primarily in the deep ocean. They are rarely seen and typically live in temperate or tropical waters, meaning Vikings probably never encountered these fish.
Yellow Tang appear as food for the Scauldron in the online game Dragon Trainer Legends.
Fish can be gotten by purchasing a fishing rod and fishing for them at various locations. They are then used for luring dragons before training them.
In this game, dragons help Berk fish. Fish is used for leveling up dragons, clearing trees and forests and upgrading the Wood Stack or Sawmill.
Fish is used for feeding dragons and in the fishing minigame.
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