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This article is about the fictional species. For mermaids from specific franchises, see Mermaids.
Merpeople are a legendary species that are half-human and half fish. Females are referred to as mermaids, while males are referred to as mermen.
The earliest records of merpeople were the "fish people" created by the goddess Tiamat in the Babylonian Creation Epic the Enuma Elish, written on clay tablets several thousand years ago. They appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks, and drownings. In other folk traditions, they can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans. Some attributes of mermaids borrow influence from other mythological creatures, including the Sirens and Naiads of Greek mythology. In many stories, mermaids and mermen lure and attract humans with their enchantingly beautiful and melodic voices to send the humans to their demise or simply entertain them.
Merpeople possess the traits of both humans and fish: their upper body is generally depicted as human or humanoid, while a fishtail replaces the lower body. Merpeople are also shown to be fairly tall, with King Triton towering over most of them, and even Ariel in her human form is only a few inches shorter than Eric.
Powers and Abilities
Underwater Breathing: In order to live underwater, merpeople have the ability to metabolize oxygen from the water, which negates the need to surface to breathe air. However, they are more than capable of breathing air outside of the water, as evidenced by certain events where they are on land for prolonged periods of time.
Aquapathy: They have a connection to their aquatic home, as they can communicate with aquatic and marine life.
Speed Swimming: They can swim for days without exhaustion as well jump over the water like dolphins, in such speed and agility as to rival or surpass most aquatic creatures.
Super Strength: Merpeople are often depicted with a degree of superhuman strength and abilities, which is evidenced by Ariel moving an underwater boulder from the grotto as well as knocking down a door with relative ease.
Aquakinesis: They can control, shape, and manipulate water at will.
Thermoendurance: They have the ability to endure any temperature in water.
In The Little Mermaid and related media, merpeople are shown to live in the sea within various underwater kingdoms. Atlantica is the most prominent, though others are implied to exist in the TV series. They are shown to coexist with sea life, with whom they are able to communicate. They generally do not interact with humans, due to the danger, though this changes after the events of the first film. It also shows that many unnamed ones are held as prisoners of Ursula. They made bargains for her aid and were unable to uphold their part of it. As a result, they are withered down to polyps. Ursula's death causes them to be restored to their natural forms.
Interestingly, dialogue from one fish character in the TV series implies that most fish either don't realize or don't know that merpeople have parts of their biology that resemble that of a human, as it refers to them as "half-fish, half-something else". Mermen generally appear bare-chested, but females usually wear a pair of seashell bikini top out of decency. It is also possible that they are herbivores, or at the very least vegetarians, as they aren't seen eating fish, and apparently they don't seem to view doing so as being ethical.
Merpeople were briefly mentioned in "Dipper vs. Manliness" by the Manotaurs, and a merman named "Mermando" appears in "The Deep End". They are stated to live in the water. What may be a skeleton of one can be seen in the Mystery Shack gift shop, although it resembles the famous hoax Fiji Mermaid. In the opening credits, a picture of one like the one in the Mystery Shack can be seen at the end of the credits. They also appear in the episode "The Deep End" when Mabel Pines befriends a beautiful merman named Mermando. He had been swimming in the Gulf of Mexico but was caught by a net from a fisherman. He later is seen at the Gravity Falls Pool. When she first saw him, she went all silly, wanting him. She soon realizes that he is a merman, and thus tries to help him, of which she succeeds. He is last seen swimming back to his home. Merpeople have about 17 hearts.
According to Mewni royalty law, a Princess cannot become queen if she cuts off a Mermaid's tail. Star was going to cut off a Mermaid tail when Marco stopped her from doing it. But instead, Star throws the axes into the Mermaid's tank, shatters the glass, and it ran out with the water.
In the episode Chicken or Fish?, Penn takes on the appearance of a prince merman of the underwater city of Oceanaquariopolis. He took the two mermaids that are actually mermen. In the episode Fish and Chips, While their finding Rufus and discover Oceanaquariopolis is in a fish tank at a restaurant. In the episode Save the Worlds, When Oceanaquariopolis the vortexes.
In the episode "Fishy Biz", Pickle and Peanut sneak into the aquarium during closing time. They discover that Sadie, the woman who works at the aquarium's information kiosk, turns out to be a mermaid. While Pickle takes Sadie out on a date, Peanut fills in for her.
In the episode The Lost Harp of Mervana!, merpeople are portrayed as half duck and half fish creatures who live in the society of Mervana, known as Mervanans. Their leader in this episode is Honestus, who ruled over the residents of Mervana, but due to his ignorance and refusal, he is transformed into a monstrous fish (the same one the Duck family encountered). Taking the Magic Harp back to them, the merpeople fight off a cursed Honestus to which after a fierce battle, the king of the merpeople is transformed back into his normal self as the merpeople of Mervana and the Harp rebuild their kingdom.
In 1984, Disney released a live-action romantic comedy under the Touchstone label which was centered around a mermaid, played by Daryl Hannah. Taking the name Madison (and thus inspiring a great many real-world girls to do the same), she leaves the sea to seek out her beloved (played by Tom Hanks), whom she rescued from drowning. However, marine biologist Dr. Walter Kornbluth is convinced that mermaids are real, and will stop at nothing to protect his credibility by exposing her to the world.
In The Thirteenth Year, two merpeople are shown: the protagonist, Cody, and his biological mother. The ones in this film are somewhat similar in appearance to one from other media. However, there are several distinctions. They are able to pass for humans until they turn 13 when the fish physiology surfaces. The transformation is shown to be triggered by exposure to water. In addition to the fish-like tail, they also have scales on their palms and small fins that run along their forearms. They also seem to possess other abilities, such as the one to generate electricity, to the point that they can fire it similarly to a defibrillator, and the one to stick to surfaces.
Mermaids are a humanoid species featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time, notable for having the ability to swim across realms. They are native to the Enchanted Forest and Neverland and first appear in the first episode of the third season. They are described as the most dangerous creatures in all the seas and are considered more of a threat than sharks, whales, or even a Kraken. Their powerful tails can break through wood and in large swarms they can sink ships. Mermaids can also use shells as trumpets to summon and manipulate terrible storms and waves. Some mermaids have voices which are lovely enough to enchant people and lure them onto rocks. Only four mermaids have been shown on the show, one being Ariel, Ursula before becoming the Sea Witch, another unnamed one, and an alternative version of Ariel from the Wish Dimension. Snow White also briefly turned into a mermaid.
In the Kingdom Hearts franchise, King Triton initially deduced that Sora was from another kingdom in the ocean due to his tail, implying that their tails act in a similar manner to human fingerprints (being unique), within the franchise.
Shortly after King Triton defeated the Sorceress in the episode "Red", he mentioned to the Sorceress "See you next century," implying that their lifespans are over one century (100 years), at the very least. This has some basis in various real-life myths on Merpeople, with the original Hans Christian Andersen tale indicating that merpeople were capable of living for three centuries.
In real life, the classification of merpeople is debatable due to possessing fish-like traits (namely fish-tails). However, the presence of mammary glands implies that they are mammals. In addition, their tails are patterned in a horizontal manner, more akin to marine mammals than true fish, whose fishtails are patterned vertically.
A common claim was that merpeople were actually manatees or dugongs that were surfacing and had seaweed on top, causing them to be mistaken for them. The first part of the Disney Comics story "Serpent-Teen" alludes to this claim by having a manatee named Eddie pose as Ariel, implying that they have frequently used manatees as decoys to ensure they weren't discovered.
The TV series adaptation of the film Aladdin features a siren water elemental named Saleen, which is similar to a mermaid. However, her fish features resemble that of a lionfish, and she possesses the power to manipulate water.
Miss Piggy appears as a mermaid while she, Kermit and Robin performed "Octopus' Garden" in the episode of The Muppet Show James Coco hosted.
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