|“||Zapfish off the port bow! Bust in and grab it!||”|
Zapfish are creatures that appear in the Splatoon series' single-player modes, Octo Valley, Octo Canyon, and the Crater levels in Return of the Mammalians. To take a Zapfish, the player must burst its shield with ink like the Rainmaker's shield. Then they must touch it and the screen and music will change to say that they have passed the level.
There are different types of Zapfish in the game: normal Zapfish are small, approximately the size of an Inkling's head, and held captive by bosses in each world; Mini Zapfish are smaller, weaker, and captured by Octolings; the more powerful and much larger Great Zapfish provides enough electricity to power cities and is held by the final boss of each game.
Zapfish are a type of electric catfish that power the cities of Inkopolis and Splatsville. Through an Inkopolis News broadcast at the start of both Splatoon and Splatoon 2, the player learns that the Great Zapfish has been stolen and taken to Octo Valley and Octo Canyon respectively, both places being a hidden underground base used by the Octarians. The player is guided by Cap'n Cuttlefish or Marie and must rescue all the Zapfish in order to restore Inkopolis' power supply. A Zapfish is found at the end of every level, enclosed in a glowing sphere of electricity and sitting on a light bulb-esque pedestal. The player must shoot the sphere with ink until it bursts, releasing the Zapfish. If it is not grabbed after some seconds, a new bubble will form around it.
In Splatoon 3, an Anarchy Splatcast announcement regarding the disappearance of the Great Zapfish is performed instead. The player is then recruited as Agent 3 of the New Squidbeak Splatoon by Craig Cuttlefish. For the Crater stages, Zapfish are found trapped as usual, however, after entering Alterna, no more Zapfish are found.
There is a doll version of a Zapfish that replaces the normal Zapfish when completing a mission that had already been cleared. It is made out of wool, has googly eyes and some stitches patched, and it wears a blue cap made from wool, resembling Cap'n Cuttlefish's Legendary Cap which the real Zapfish do not wear. The animation for obtaining the Zapfish also changes, having Agent 3 and Agent 4 holding the doll differently.
Zapfish appear to be a cross between a small fish and a light bulb's filament. They have a large head with two small eyes, two nostrils, and a pair of orange lips. Below the head is a smaller, yellow body.
Mini Zapfish only appear in Octo Canyon inside Octoling missions. There is a total of eight Mini Zapfish scattered across the map in each mission, and it is Agent 4's job to collect all of them. It is stated by Marie that all eight Mini Zapfish combined have the power output of one normal Zapfish.
In the Octo Expansion, Zapfish are replaced by a different goal, which has a thin, silver, pencil-like design. They are the way for Agent 8 to complete levels that task them to get to the goal. They function the same way as a Zapfish, with bombs exploding instantly if they touch it.
Similarly, data points replace Mini Zapfish, which appear in groups of eight. These only appear in three levels, being Bodacious Rotation Station, Cubular Station, and Diaphragm Phase. The Diaphragm Phase also features an object called the energy core which looks like a red spherical Zapfish, and is confirmed by HaikaraWalker to be a Zapfish egg.
A render of a Zapfish from Splatoon 2.
An exhibit of a Zapfish's lifecycle at the Shellendorf Institute.
A Zapfish shown in the Return of the Mammalians trailer
A Zapfish doll in the Squid Sisters camp
Agent 3 holding a rescued Zapfish
- It is shown in credits art that Cap'n Cuttlefish is the one who makes and sews the stuffed Zapfish dolls.
- Zapfish in the Octarians' spheres are surrounded by electrical charges, likely indicating that they are generating power.
- All sub weapons that come into contact with a Zapfish's shield will explode instantly, similar to the Rainmaker's shield.
- The Japanese name, denchi namazu, means "catfish battery". Similar to electric eels, some catfish produce an electrical discharge to defend themselves.
- In Shellendorf Institute, there is a display showcasing the development of a Zapfish.
- The Zapfish dolls can be found lying around Cap'n Cuttlefish's cabin in Octo Valley, as well as one found in the waste container in Inkopolis Plaza, standing beside the entrance to Octo Valley.
- A Mini Zapfish doll can be found lying under a pillow on a sofa in Tentakeel Outpost.
- After being left around for a little, the Zapfish will look around, making noises that sound like "Huh?" and "Where are you?" before regenerating its bubble.
- The Mini Zapfish dolls wear a hat resembling Marie's squid slice hair ornament in Splatoon, instead of Cap'n Cuttlefish's Legendary Cap that Zapfish dolls wear.
- A trailer for Return of the Mammalians shows a Zapfish in an area of Alterna, despite the fact that Zapfish do not appear in Alterna whatsoever in the final game.
Names in other languages
|Battery catfish [a]|
|Italian||Pescescossa||From pesce ("fish") and scossa ("shock")|
|Spanish (NOA)||Volbagre||From voltio ("volt") and bagre ("catfish")|
|Spanish (NOE)||Siluro eléctrico||Battery catfish|
|Chinese (Simplified)||电池鲶鱼 
|From 电池 ("battery") and 鲶鱼 ("catfish")|
From 电 ("electric") and 鲶鱼 ("catfish")
|From 電池 ("battery") and 鯰魚 ("catfish")|
|French (NOA)||Poisson-charge jouet|
|French (NOE)||Poisson-charge factice|
|Spanish (NOA)||Volbagre peluche|
|Spanish (NOE)||Siluro de pega|
Mame Denchi Namazu
|Miniature battery catfish|
|Dutch||Dwergvoltvis||Dwarf volt fish|
|Italian||Mini Pescescossa||Mini Zapfish|
- Also a pun of デンキナマズ denki namazu ("electric catfish")