Creature of myth and fantasy, symbol of the imagination and creative spirit, the sea horse got its name from the ancient Greeks who called it Hippocampus (horse + sea monster). This benign sea-dwelling animal has a head with obvious equine features, but it derives its 'monster' aspect from its bony armour, its two eyes that are able to look in different directions simultaneously, and its prehensile tail that it uses to grip seaweed and other objects like a monkey. Quite coincidentally, the part of the human brain associated with memory is called the 'hippocampus', and perhaps for this reason the sea horse came by its association with the creativity.
Because of the ongoing myth that the sea horse has powers of healing - especially in China where it is thought to cure impotence by acting as an aphrodisiac - and subsequently earning fishermen as much as $555 a pound - the sea horse has been declared an endangered species.
Sea horses range in size from a quarter of an inch to a foot. Their habitat is amongst the sea grasses and coral reefs of temperate tropical waters. It 'snorts' its food - tiny sea-shrimp - through its snout, passing the remains out through its fins. It is also known as the chameleon of the ocean, due to its ability to change color when sensing danger, thereby blending in with its surroundings.