- This article is about the large fish found off the coast of Kyoshi Island. For the koi incarnations of the Moon and Ocean Spirits, see Tui and La, respectively.
Aang traveled to Kyoshi Island, accompanied by Katara and Sokka, with the intent of riding on an elephant koi for recreation. After one of the creatures was spotted breaching in the nearby bay, the Avatar dove into the water and latched himself onto the dorsal fin of the fish. The mounted elephant koi swam across the surface of the water followed by two more of its kind, breaching intermittently. Two of the fish broke away, including the one Aang was riding, while the other proceeded further until being suddenly dragged underwater by the unagi, the fish's natural predator. Shortly thereafter, the elephant koi ridden by Aang was also dragged below the surface by the unagi, leaving the airbender stranded in the bay.
The elephant koi are enormous fish, reaching lengths of forty to fifty feet. Although they are mainly colored a light shade of yellow, broken patterns of orange are prominent down their backs, between their eyes, on the tips of their fins, and in small circles around the bases of their tails. Variations of this color pattern can be seen on most elephant koi. The fish features a single dorsal fin supported by about half a dozen spines. Additional fins include a pair of pectoral fins, a pelvic fin, and an anal fin on the ventral side of the creature, as well as a relatively small, single-lobed caudal fin. Elephant koi also possess barbels on the sides of their mouth as a physical attribute.
Elephant koi typically travel in small schools, but when disturbed, they are known to separate in an effort to evade a predator. On occasion, the fish swim directly below the surface of the water, exposing their dorsal fin, and can be witnessed jumping great heights out of the water.
Koi are a domesticated, colorful variety of the common carp and are closely related to the goldfish. In the early nineteenth century, the Japanese noticed the beautiful color patterns on some of the carp and bred them for these markings. The elephant koi share no real similarities to elephants aside from their massive size.
- Elephant koi are occasionally referred to as "giant koi fish".
- Elephant koi meat can be used in creating gourmet dishes. Suyin Beifong's chef served a seared wild elephant koi with a ginger-infused pea tendril and hibiscus root salad to the matriarch and her dinner party as the meal's main dish.
- From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Creature: Elephant Koi.
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