Glowing Algae, also called Flightmare Algae, is a bioluminescent organism that appears in the DreamWorks Dragons franchise. To avoid confusion, it is classified as "flora" (the Latin word for plant) here. It makes the dragons that eat it glow, though this is not the case for the Moldruffle.
In the franchise, glowing algae is able to survive in both freshwater and saltwater as it typically flows through rivers and occasionally or eventually flows out to sea. It glows bright blue and appears as droplets of glowing blue blobs when separated from the water. It also appears to be sticky, as it was able to stick to the side of a ship as well as sticking to Ruffnut's and Tuffnut's faces for a while.
When glowing algae is first seen in the franchise in "Fright of Passage", Hiccup hypothesizes that its glow was a reaction to "Aurvandil's Fire" (the Northern Lights), which appears every ten years on Berk, along with the Flightmare. However, the algae seems to glow under its own abilities in the episode, "Maces and Talons, Part 1," and after that, which disproves the theory.
It is possible that the glowing algae is somewhat based on bioluminescent micro-organisms called dinoflagellates, specifically Noctiluca scintillans, more commonly known as "sea sparkle". The sea sparkle's bluish glow is a result of a chemical reaction when they are "disturbed", so it is not continuously glowing as the glowing algae appears to be. Sea sparkle can be found mostly along coastlines around the world, so it is possible historic Vikings did come across this organism. There are many other Genera and species of bioluminescent "algae" or dinoflagellates, but sea sparkle is the most notable.
In the DreamWorks Dragons franchise, glowing algae is most noted as a food source for the Flightmare, and appears to contribute to this dragon's bluish glow. This is likely inspired by the algea that give flamingos their pink plumage when eaten. It has also been demonstrated that if dragons other than Flightmares eat glowing algae, that the glowing effect is also imparted to them, but in colors possibly roughly corresponding with their hide color. The Flightmare follows a trail of the algae throughout the ocean, as this is the main source of the species' diet.
The bioluminescence from eating Glowing Algae can also effect other animals, such as chickens.
Glowing Algae can also be used by Vikings as markers of the locations of cracks in objects, such as cart wheels. When poured onto an object and lit with dragon fire, algae trapped within the cracks in an object will start to glow, indicating exactly where the cracks are located.
In the episode, "Fright of Passage", Astrid Hofferson awaited the arrival of the Flightmare, which tarnished her family's name by causing Fearless Finn Hofferson to freeze with fear. Later, Astrid and Hiccup discovered that the Flightmare can breathe a paralyzing mist, and that this dragon is appearing on Berk because it follows its food source: glowing algae.
Glowing algae is seen again in the episode, "Maces and Talons, Part 1" when Viggo Grimborn and the Dragon Riders clashed at an unnamed island. Viggo was attempting to capture a Flightmare, while the Dragon Riders attempt to stop it from crossing paths with the Dragon Hunter. The Flightmare is attracted to this island because it has glowing algae.
In the Quest called "Gobber's Wheels of Misfortune", the player must collect glowing algae from behind the waterfall on Berk to bring to the school alchemist, Heather. Heather wants to use it to create a way to view the cracks in metal.
Four different colors of glowing algae (blue, yellow, red, and green) were added for a limited period of time in the shop as part of the 2018 Dreadfall update. They can be fed to the dragons and make them glow in the respective colors for a short amount of time: four hours for small bottles and twelve hours for large bottles. They can be applied to all dragon species in the game, with the Light Fury being the only exception. Still, Toothless can only glow when fed blue algae, possibly because it was the color he was glowing in the episode, "Fright of Passage".
Flightmare algae (possibly another name for glowing algae) is mentioned is a few dragon descriptions. According to the official description of Sweetcicle, there is a sweet variety of the algae, which only blooms in the spring. It contains high sugar concentrations, which make dragons hyperactive. It is unknown whether Flightmares trail this algae too, and if so what effects it would have upon them and their dietary/migratory needs/habits.
|“||... He is the light in the shadows, illuminated within by bioluminescent algae. ...||”|
|— Dragons: Titan Uprising|
- The glowing algae seems to have a strong effect on the Flightmare's shot limit. According to Dragonpedia, the Flightmare has a shot limit of 4, which is significantly low and inaccurate, when the Flightmare produced a long trail of its toxic mist to surround the Dragon Riders in "Maces and Talons, Part 1".
- The only explainable reason is that the glowing algae has another side effect that increases the shot limit of the Flightmare, or even the toxicity in the mist, since they are both the same color and is somewhat "sticky" as the Flightmare's mist can create a "shiny" aspect on its paralyzed victim, causing them to appear covered in a glaze.
- The glowing algae stream was described to be filled with tiny fish in the Dragon Tracker.
- These fish could possibly be where all the Flightmare's nutrients come from, and the glowing algae instead may just be a side effect and benefit to its diet, adding to the health benefits of the algae.
- Dragons: Die Wächter von Berk - Vol.1: Dragon Tracker Flightmare (Englisch). (Date Posted - July 18, 2014). YouTube.
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