SEA CREATURE SYMBOLISM
Clownfish -Home, hiding
Dolphin - Kindness, playfulness, swiftness, intelligence, guidance. Etruscan art depicted them as carrying the souls of the dead.
Octopus - Water, magic, focus, mystery, flexibility, adaptability, knowing
Salmon - Knowledge, instinct, persistence, inspiration, determination
Seahorse - Grace, fatherhood, nourishment
Shark - The hunt, survival
Turtle - Earth, creativity, adaptability, healing, love, knowledge.
Whale - Rebirth, death, regeneration, guardians, travels
A magical freshwater eel from Melanesian mythology that swims at the bottom of lakes. These eels are protectors of fish and bring on storms if the fish and the lakes are disturbed. A tidal wave overcomes anyone who attempts to catch the Abaia. The origin of the Abaia is said to be a real-life large eel.
The Abere is an evil being from Melanesian mythology. She is a cannibal and lures men to lakes or swamps where she murders men and devours them.
Also known as apkallu
These are seven water creatures from ancient lower Mesopotamian mythology. They are depicted as being part man and part fish. They are seen as guardians and teach the sciences and the arts while fasting during the day and then return to water at night. They are sometimes referred to as demigods, who were created by the god Enki.
Adaro is a sea spirit depicted as being half-man, half-fish from the mythology of the Solomon Islands. Tail fins extend from his legs and feet and there is another fin on his head, similar to that of a shark fin. He has gills behind his ears and a point where his nose should be, resembling a narwhal. He rides rainbows and shoot at humans with flying fish.
Also known as addanc, avanc, abhac, abac
Afanc is said to inhabit Lake Llyon Llion where it flooded the countryside. Sometimes it is described as a crocodile, a giant beaver, a dwarf, or a water demon.
Also known as aspidochelon, aspidodelone
A sea monster from European folklore. It was also known in Northern Africa and the Middle East as the Zaratan. It is said to be a massive creature that resembles a stony island. Its back could grow foliage and its diet consisted of fish. Its open mouth emits a sweet smell, which attracts its prey. This creature is sometimes referred to as the one that swallowed Jonah in the Bible and is sometimes depicted as the mouth of Hell in the Christian religion. This creature was the subject of many medieval horror stories. The creature lures sailors to its back and submerges, drowning those who mistook it for an island.
A sea monster in the folklore of the British Isles said to dwell in the Irish sea. It is said to have a black head and was named after that attribute.
The bunyip is a man-eating creature from Australian mythology. It is said to have a horse’s tail and it resembles a walrus. It defends lakes by eating people at night, though it cries out as a warning to those who come nearby.
A Scottish mermaid (sometimes said to have the tail of a salmon) who can grant three wishes. However, this mermaid may drown those who make selfish wishes. Some say these mermaids can take human form and marry mortal men. Their offspring make good sailors.
This is a water horse on the Isle of Man. It appears as a handsome man to women and lures them to a quiet place where it kills them. It also drowns sheep and cattle.
A snake-like beast who lives in a lake between Vermont and New York. It is between twenty and eighty feet long, has horns on its head, and has humps on its back.
Also known as Dhuragoo, Dorraghowor, Dobarcu
An Irish sea creature sometimes referred to as the Irish Crocodile. This creature is fast, described as half-dog and half-fish, has white hair, and around seven feet long. This creature is violent. Sometimes it is described as resembling an otter.
Also known as Aughisky, ech-ushky
A water horse that appears as a friendly, handsome steed in Ireland. The horse runs to the bottom of a lake where it lives if someone mounts it and devours them there. In Scotland, this creature appears as a man or a bird.
The Encantado is the mythical version of the boto in Brazil. These creatures can turn into humans and live in a utopia called Encante. However, as humans, they have a bald spot on their heads where their blowhole is. Therefore, they usually wear hats. They have great musical abilities, a love for sex, and a love for parties. They are said to kidnap children they father while in human form. Some kidnap young women and bring them to Encante. They are said to control storms.
A Hurrian sea demon in the form of a snake.
Also known as Uiara, Yara
A mermaid in Brazil who sings to travelers to lure them to her. She then drowns them. She is half-human and half-serpent, has green eyes, and has a beautiful voice.
Also known as Turisas, Taara, Fjomjot, Meritursas
A sea monster from Finnish mythology. His appearance is unclear though some claim he has one thousand heads or horns. He symbolizes evil and death.
Japanese water spirits. They have yellow skin, are similar to monkeys in appearance, and long noses. They lure children to the water where they drown them and drink their blood. Kappas have heads full of water and when this spills, they lose their power.
In Ireland, Li Ban is a woman who turned into a mermaid when she and her dog became trapped under their home where a spring burst. This area became a lake in Northern Ireland where she dwelled for three hundred years.
Also known as Lawtan, the coiling serpent, the fleeing serpent
The Lotan is found in the Mediterranean Sea and is considered by some to be another version of the Biblical Leviathan. It is a sea serpent or dragon with seven heads
Mermaids from Greenland folklore. This mermaid is hideous, unlike most mermaids. They have flat faces and piercing eyes.
Also known as Melusina
A European (mostly French) mermaid who is either half-woman and half-fish or half-woman and half-serpent. However, she only transformed on Saturdays. Sometimes she has wings or two tails instead of one.
Also known as murrough, moruadh
Irish merfolk who could live in the water by use of enchanted hats. The women were beautiful while the men had red noses and pig-like eyes. Male merrows drowned sailors and enslaved them in the sea. Without their enchanted hats, the merrows could not return to sea. The female merrows who lived on land with men often returned to the water if they still had their caps. Female merrows lure humans to them with their singing and appear before storms. They have webbed hands and green hair.
A sea creature from aboriginal Australian mythology. Some depictions show this creature as half-fish and half-man whiles others show this creature as a large beast. It hides in seaweed.
The ningen is fairly recent. It was reported by Japanese fishermen to be white and up to thirty meters long. They have a human upper body and a tail. The description of the ningen varies by region, but is consistent with the reporting of human features. Some descriptions say the ningen has fins and legs or that the only human features present on the face are eyes and a mouth.
A Japanese mermaid who wards off bad luck. These mermaids are depicted as being similar to carp. Its scales shine gold. It cannot speak, but it can sing. If it cries, it will transform into a human. Some depictions show the human half of this mermaid to resemble that of a monkey.
Also known as nixie, nixy
A German water spirit that is half human, half fish. They live in underwater palaces and take many human forms to be among humans. Sometimes they make themselves invisible. Sometimes they drown children or have children with humans.
Also known as Nu Kua, Nu Hsi, Nu wa, Nugua
A Chinese sea creature with the top half of a human and the bottom half of a serpent. She is involved in the Chinese creation myth. Sometimes she has the head or the horns of an ox.
A creature from Inuit mythology. They have long fingernails, long hair, and green skin.
A Russian female water spirit. They were the souls of women who died in or near water and their deaths were often the result of murder. Some say they became spirits because of suicide or because they were never baptized. Some describe them as having glowing eyes and translucent skin. Their hair is always wet, but they may die if it dries. Others who become Rusalka include those born out of wedlock, those who have children out of wedlock, and those whose mothers drowned them.
Slavic water spirits that lived in sunken ships. They are shown as being old men, having long beards, and being covered in scales. They drowned swimmers and used them as slaves in their underwater palaces, but befriended fishermen.
A serpent from Chinese mythology that has nine human heads. This creature is said to have created diseased springs and swamps.