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The akula (Na'vi name: pxazang) is a Pandoran ocean animal that roams the reefs of the Eastern Sea. It is a ferocious and more elusive cousin of the nalutsa.


The akula is a carnivorous fish that has a striking resemblance to the terran great white shark or the extinct megalodon, the largest shark that ever existed. The akula is equipped with a pointy tail that is used to propel itself through the water. The underside of its body is white while the creature's top is dark gray. This coloration acts as camouflage, allowing the akula to sneak up on its prey. Similar coloration can be found on the great white shark, which occupies the same niche as the akula. A sharp ridge can be seen on the akula's back. The akula's most striking feature is a three-part jaw that resembles a rattlesnake's open mouth. The three jaws open in a triangular pattern like a blooming flower.

In Na'vi Culture[]

The akula has cultural significance to the Metkayina clan. The serrated edges of the clans' knives are modeled after the teeth of the creature, and Tonowari wears a necklace crafted with akula teeth.


The akula is the largest reef marine predator. Because it does not breathe air, it can lie in wait far below in an ambush strategy, like a Terran Great White shark. Its most desirable prey is Charybdis calves, but they also prey on ilu, skimwings, tulkun, marine ikran and marine leonopteryx.

Role in Avatar: The Way of Water[]

Lo'ak is attacked by an Akula

An akula attacks Lo'ak

When Aonung and his buddies ditched Lo'ak at the Three Brothers as a prank while fishing, Lo'ak was in mortal danger when he encountered an akula. The creature quickly turned on Lo'ak, forcing him to take refuge inside the coral structures nearby. The akula kept tearing through the coral formations, forcing Lo'ak to retreat deeper into the structure. Eventually, the akula chose to wait until Lo'ak ran out of air and then eat him, when he tried to resurface. When Lo'ak started drowning, he had no choice but to attempt to make a daring escape but failed. The akula spotted him and rushed in for the kill, Lo'ak ready to attack with his dagger. At the last second, a tulkun named Payakan saved Lo'ak by ramming into the akula, crushing the beast against the coral and quickly killing it. This was the start of Payakan and Lo'ak's friendship.

Creature Design[]

The akula was designed by Zachary Berger in 2018 based on a sketch by Weta Workshop a few years prior which James Cameron liked.[2] It is inspired by the Dunkleosteus,[3] an extinct armored fish that lived 382–358 million years ago and grew up to 10 m (33 ft) long. During the design process, multiple variants were discussed, including several head shapes. The final design of the akula's jaw was inspired by snakes[4] and sharks. The creature ripping through coral, as seen in the film, was part of the considerations that led to the approval of the final design.[2]


  • "Akula" means "shark" in many Slavic languages and comes from Old Nordic "hákall". It is also two different classes of Russian attack submarines, one of NATO designation and the other by Russian Navy itself.[5]
  • Zachary Berger, who created the akula, also designed the fish that Lo'ak hunts with a Speargun[3] and many of the other fish seen in Avatar: The Way of Water.



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