These amazing, elegant animals teach us that everything can be quite different: that males can get pregnant and that instead of chasing targets, it would be just as rewarding to drift. A seahorse can wait for hours in the sea grass until prey comes its way. It then sucks it in with its mouth like an eyedropper. Nevertheless, the pairs, which are largely monogamous, manage to find and greet each other every morning. Then the female goes hunting while the male carries the fertilized eggs in his belly pocket. Under water, the sounds of the brightly colored animals, growling when threatened or pleased - or clicking during courtship - can only be heard by humans with technical amplification. But what are seahorses actually? "Horse-like sea creatures," Carl von Linné said, "fish, bony fish, to be precise," Andrea Grill specifies. In her dazzling portrait, the biologist and writer sets out to find these whimsical creatures of the water, which have existential significance: as mythical figures, as animals with utopian potential, as graceful survivors - and not least as indicators of the state of our oceans.
Andrea Grill lives as a poet and writer in Vienna, Amsterdam and the Salzkammergut. She is a habilitated evolutionary biologist and translates from several European languages. Her poetry collection Happy Bastards is among the poetry recommendations of the German Academy for Language and Poetry. Her novel Cherubino was nominated for the German Book Prize in 2019. In 2021, she received the Anton Wildgans Prize. Her animal portrait Butterflies has previously been published by Matthes & Seitz Berlin and translated into several languages.