[[quoteright:330:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ariel_mermaid_and_hogwarts_merfolk.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:330:Often very different.[softreturn][-(Left: ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'', Right: ''[[Film/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire Harry Potter]]'')-] ]]

->''"Mermaid, oh murmur into my ear\\
The answers to questions I'm longing to hear;\\
Does it relax you to hear the sound of the land?\\
Do you, O mermaid, have slightly webbed hands?"''
-->-- '''Music/FlightOfTheConchords''', "Mermaid"

Mermaids, or more generally merfolk, crop up quite a lot in fiction. However, [[OurMonstersAreDifferent like most mythical creatures and monsters]], they are a little different every time and have different rules applied to them. Their dispositions, morality, and alliances vary depending on the author, and whether or not they can become human is a question everyone answers differently. Even their general appearance isn't fixed: see the picture.

'''Appearance:'''
Merfolk are generally portrayed as beautiful women (mermaids) or handsome men (mermen) with fish- or dolphin-like tails in place of legs. Sometimes they are not ''so'' pretty, but still fall under the CuteMonsterGirl heading. Others are more blatantly sea-creatures with few human characteristics and are quite ugly, for example the ''Film/HarryPotter'' merman ([[ViewerGenderConfusion mermaid?]]) pictured. Sometimes they have features reminiscent of other, more exotic seas-creatures, and sometimes they ''are'' sea-animals that [[HumanityEnsues become human-like]] under certain circumstances.

Some joke that merfolk have the fish half on top instead of on the bottom in order to resolve "the MermaidProblem". Mermaids who are more human-looking (and modest) tend to wear {{Seashell Bra}}s. And then there's underwater folk like Aquaman, Namor the Submariner, ''The Man From Atlantis'' etc. who look like normal humans for the most part but can [[ApparentlyHumanMerfolk survive and breathe underwater]] and may have some [[BizarreAlienBiology odd physical adaptations that are well-hidden]] until they return to the sea. It should also be noted that most mermaids have the "fish half" in a cetacean (horizontal fluke) configuration, rather than a fish's vertical configuration, since this is closer to how an actual human swims, though exceptions exist. Of course, cetaceans are terrestrial mammals which have evolved to an aquatic lifestyle, so this is probably fair enough.


'''[[HumanityEnsues Merperson to Human:]]'''
Sometimes merpeople can turn into humans, or vice versa, under certain circumstances. The way this is done and differences in the "rules" surrounding this are numerous:

* The ''Film/{{Splash}}'' Method: The mermaid can become human when they are dry and [[InvoluntaryShapeshifter turn back when wet]]. Sometimes this is something all merpeople can do, and sometimes there are limits on how long they can do it.
* ''Literature/TheLittleMermaid'' Method: The mermaid invokes [[AWizardDidIt a magic spell]] which allows them to turn human. Sometimes, this is at a hefty cost. In the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, it's the title's character's tongue; the sea-witch responsible expects payment, and specifies, [[EquivalentExchange "the best thing you possess will I have for the price of my draught."]]. May be combined with the above.
* [[VoluntaryShapeshifting The Fredericka Bimm Method]]: Mermaids can switch forms more or less at will. Unlike the ''Splash'' method, getting doused with water is not a problem.
* [[TransformationTrinket The Magical Item Method]]: Common in some mythologies but, curiously, not often utilized in modern fiction. The Mermaid has a magical item which allows her to change from one form to another. Some of these items are obvious; a [[SelkiesAndWereseals Selkie]] needs her shed seal-skin to return to her home in the sea. Or a mermaid could pass for human on land in a wheelchair. Others are... kind of random; a Merrow needs a hat made of red feathers to (depending on which variant on the legend you are reading) return to the sea or assume human form.
* And of course, some mermaids don't posess shapeshifting abilities at all -- no matter how much they may want to change, the half-fish appearance is their default, permanent form.

'''Good or Evil?:'''
Sometimes mermaids are portrayed as evil seductresses (sometimes called devil fish) who lure sailors to their deaths[[note]]this is based on the myths of sirens which were originally birdwomen but who are generally portrayed as mermaids these days [[LostInTranslation due to language confusion]][[/note]]. In most mythologies, they display the inscrutable and sometimes dangerous amorality of TheFairFolk, especially if mermaids are treated as marine fae. Sometimes they are good but flirty and mischievous. Sometimes they are mostly innocent and naive. Sometimes they are honorable, and of these, several [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters resent us]] for treating their ocean home so badly for so long. Sometimes (just sometimes) they are just like us and have all sorts of personas. Very often, though not always, they are {{Tsundere}}, or even outright {{Yandere}} types. Octopus or Squid-based mermaids--sometimes called cilophytes or cecaelia--are usually portrayed as evil, probably owing to the influence of Disney's sea-witch Ursula, or perhaps because of the "alien" nature of tentacles.

One thing that also tends to vary among depictions of mermaids is their ability to survive on land: some depictions show them being completely unable to breathe out of water, others show them being able to stay above the surface but needs to be wet to avoid drying out, and some show no qualms at all about leaving the sea and can stay out of water seemingly indefinitely (except for not having legs).

Most merfolk can communicate with fish and sea creatures, [[CarnivoreConfusion regardless of whether they eat them or not]]. Expect merfolk to [[ExposedExtraterrestrials remain naked]] no matter how deep they swim or how little protection their skin has, though their bodies might have some unseen protection against the cold and high pressure of the depths.

UnscaledMerfolk is a SubTrope, where the non-human parts are not a scaled fish; see also SelkiesAndWereseals.

See also MermaidProblem, ShapeShiftingLover, TheFairFolk, SirensAreMermaids and FriendlyPlayfulDolphin, HeroicDolphin and [[SapientCetaceans Sapient Cetacean]].

May occasionally overlap with FishPeople, though they are generally more of an [[PettingZooPeople anthropomorphic fusion]] than a half-and-half mix.

----
!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''BlueSubmarineNo6'' has a genetically engineered, evidently entirely female, race of mermaids. Typically they pilot underwater lobster-ish mecha as the front line troops of the antagonist forces. While fitting the CuteMonsterGirl trope in many ways, they are not your traditional style of mermaid, considering that they have a tendency to bite.
* Sophia and The Mermaid Tribe and The Merman Tribe in {{Doraemon}}.
* In a story arc of a ''Anime/MazingerZ'' manga, a race of giant FishPeople from another dimension called Chip Kamoy attempted to invade Earth. In order to communicate with human beings, they kidnapped a human girl and transformed her into a mermaid: her legs were replaced by a long fish tail, and fins grew from her head. She was definitely good, though, and tried to help TheHero Kouji Kabuto. [[spoiler:Unfortunately her "masters" executed her in punishment.]]
* Usamaru Furuya's ''Manga/ShortCuts'' has a mock poll about mermaids, asking which would you prefer, regular (fish bottom) or reverse (fish top) mermaid. The final "moral" is that people liking regular mermaids is the reason the population is decreasing: Put up with your partner, [[WhatMeasureisANonCute even if they have a fish face]].
* ''MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch'' involves mermaids who follow "The Splash Method"; though it also has elements of "Literature/TheLittleMermaid" in there. If a mermaid tells a human her secret she'll turn into sea foam (supposedly; it's never tested, and the manga implies it might be a lie spread to keep up the {{Masquerade}}). Additionally, her human form is quite different looking from her mermaid form besides just the obvious lack of tail. The main character also sacrifices her voice - but ''just'' her singing voice (she can sing beautifully as a mermaid, [[CuteButCacophonic not so much as a human]]). On top of this, they are also {{Magical Girl}}s with MagicMusic.
* A one-shot manga tale by RumikoTakahashi had a passionate romance between a human boy and a mermaid - which ended as soon as they kissed. (Mermaid breath tasted like rotten fish, and human breath tasted like rotting plants. Yuck both ways.)
** The mermaids from Takahashi's ''MermaidSaga'' are vastly different than most, as they are monstrous, flesh-eating, and very hard to kill. Eating their flesh has a MillionToOneChance (really) of granting immortality -- and otherwise kills you,[[FateWorseThanDeath if you're lucky]].
* The much older ''Anime/MahouNoMakoChan'' shares some similarities with ''Pichi Pichi Pitch'', as they are both based loosely on "Literature/TheLittleMermaid". Mako-chan uses a magic pendant to transform and is more of a CuteWitch.
* ''Manga/MyBrideIsAMermaid'''s mermaids demonstrate the Splash method listed above. They can remain in human form as long as they don't get sufficiently wet (which isn't too much.) Nagasumi spends a lot of time drying off Sun just to avoid having her secret discovered by others. Adults grow out of this, and it is possible for younger mermaids to resist the change with limited success if they are disciplined enough. Their songs can cause a variety of status effects. Otherwise nice people, aside from being {{Yakuza}}... Also, one of them is the Terminator who can take a KillSat to the face without flinching. Yeah... Nagasumi gets in some serious trouble with him due to a [[NotWhatItLooksLike severe misunderstanding]] while drying off his daughter.
* ''RaveMaster'' has Celia, a very beautiful mermaid who naturaly falls in love with Haru, much to Elie's displeasure. Her magic is strong but useless in the absence of water. She is the younger sister of the Queen of the mermaids, which of course makes her a mermaid princess.
* ''RentalMagica'' and ''RosarioToVampire'' have both had the dangerous, flesh-eating kind of mermaid. Though ''Rosario'''s, true to its style, appeared as a CuteMonsterGirl beforehand.
* Husky is a {{Bishounen}} Merman from the manga ''Manga/PlusAnima''. Like most +anima, he's the only one of his kind (the only one who is fish like, that is). His legs turn into a fish tail at will. If he is about to drown, he'll [[EmergencyTransformation change in order to be able to breathe]]: this is how he was forced to do it in the circus. It apparently takes him some effort to turn into his human form. He's also perfectly amphibious. And he's probably the prettiest mer-man around. When he's introduced, he's performing in a circus as the Mermaid ''Princess''.
* In the ''{{Slayers}}'' anime series, there's a mermaid that's a fish. Literally, just a fish... with tetrapod arms and legs. Not a reverse mermaid. A * whole fish* with legs, arms... oh, and lipstick. There are other merfolk seen in the earlier (1st and 3rd) series; turns out they ''all'' look like fish with arms and legs.
** Their most amusing (and oddly touching) appearance is in a ''{{Slayers}} Try'' episode: a young fishgirl and the shipwrecked sailor she saved are in love with each other, and use a spell that will allow a fishperson to be with a human [[ThePowerOfLove if they truly love one another]]. The spell actually works, and she changes into a beautiful human girl... [[spoiler:and he turns into a fishman!]]
* A similar type of FishPerson is found in ''{{Papuwa}},'' examplfied by Tanno, the cross-dressing fish identified as such by his lipstick and his feminine legs clad appropriately in [[IncrediblyLamePun fishnet stockings]].
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', Mer-people come in two flavors: Merfolk and Fishmen. Fishmen are FishPeople that are ten times stronger than humans on land and twenty times under water. Merfolks are ''Literature/TheLittleMermaid'' type. At the age of 30, the tails of mermaids ([[BizarreSexualDimorphism but not mermen]]) '''split''' and may be used as legs. Even so, they are the fastest swimmers in the world. In both cases, the types of fish they're similar to, and thus their physical features, greatly vary. Merfolk and Fishmen can intermarry, but instead of being hybrids each child can be either a mermaid/man or a fish(wo)man.
* ''MoribitoGuardianOfTheSpirit'' features the Water Folk, a mysterious, barely glimpsed race of Film/CreatureFromTheBlackLagoon-style [[FishPeople amphibious humanoids]].
* Mei Mah / Mei Mer of ''KOBeast'' changes into a mermaid when wet or when something makes her cry. Her tears become pearls.
* Luna of the 2003 ''VideoGame/PoPoLoCrois'' anime/game is [[spoiler:a water sprite who can change into a human using a magic golden key (used previously by Narcia to become Kai) in order to walk on land.]]
* Hayame from ''HellTeacherNube'' has it easier than most. Aside from being a very likeable [[TheDitz goof]] and a powerful ally, she can [[GoodThingYouCanHeal regenerate from anything]] (even being reduced to a dessicated corpse for centuries or cutting out her own liver,) her [[MagicMusic singing voice]] can compel anyone in earshot to act out the emotions in her songs, she can [[VoluntaryShapeshifter change back and forth from mermaid to human at will]] (though [[NakedPeopleAreFunny her methods]] leave [[InnocentFanserviceGirl something to be desired]],) and her flesh and blood can grant [[FromASingleCell hyper-accelerated healing]] to ''anyone'' who consumes them. In her natural form, she's a CuteMonsterGirl with webbed hands, long and pointy fins instead of ears, highly-visible gills over her ribcage, and GodivaHair to cover her bare NonMammalMammaries.
* In the short horror manga ''SchoolMermaid,'' the mermaids actually look like schoolgirls in bathing suits, with an ever-present creepy smile on their face, the ability to swim through solid matter like it was water, and at top speed at that, only come out at night, and can only make screeching sounds. Oh, and [[spoiler:if a human girl who's hunting them is unable to kill and eat a mermaid by sunrise, they'll all rise up, drag her down into the floor, and turn her into a mermaid herself.]]
* In ''SevenGhost'' noel mermaids have furry rings around their neck and waist, and the ability to change the appearance of their face at will. They also can only express themselves in melody.
* The sea people from ''Anime/UmiMonogatari'' resemble humans exactly (not counting PointyEars, which [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight nobody seems to notice]]) except for the need to breathe underwater, though they also have magic rings that can solve that problem. They also tend toward skimpier clothing than most humans, something that is noticed when they go on land.
* In ''{{Ponyo}}'', the mermaid equivalents are magical goldfish-sized creatures with protohuman faces and powerful magic who can turn [[HumanityEnsues shapeshift]] [[BloodMagic if they taste human blood]]. Oh, and they appear to be the [[HalfHumanHybrid result of breeding]] between [[AWizardDidIt a no-longer-human wizard]] and [[PhysicalGod the goddess of the ocean]].
* ''SatouKashiNoDanganWaUchinukenai'' lampshades this trope when Nagisa remarks on Umino's supposed transformation story: ''"That's the scenario from'' 'Literature/TheLittleMermaid', ''isn't it?''
* [[TokenMiniMoe Bluebell]] from ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' has a box weapon which turns her into a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shonisaurus shonisaurus]] / [[HalfHumanHybrid human hybrid]] that resembles a mermaid. However she doesn't seem to have heard of {{Seashell Bra}}s, and is instead covered up by [[GodivaHair her hair]] (not that there is much to cover up).
* Anime/DigimonFrontier: One of the antagonists, [[http://dma.wtw-x.net/dexrana.shtml Ranamon]], is a human hybrid fairy digimon with control over water. Despite not having the typical mermaid traits (human upper body and fish tail), she definitely constitutes being a mermaid. She is a big fan among many digimon due to her attractive appearance, but this changes when she digivolves into her hideous, tentacled beast form, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-3oc1mNUnc Calmaramon]]. Her benevolent mega form, Ancientmermaimon, is [[http://dma.wtw-x.net/dexancientmermai.shtml more typical of a mermaid]].
* LevelE has mermaids with the rather unusual power to detect any attempt to lie to them... by their tongue involuntarily shooting out and stabbing the liar to death. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, it doesn't stop them from being sold into sex slavery and pretty much wiped out, because a loophole is found to evade the ability but the mermaids don't realize it.]]
* Isma from {{Berserk}} is introduced as a lonely [[GenkiGirl genki]] fisher girl whose lack of nudity taboos borders on InnocentFanserviceGirl category, unlike a typical Mermaid Isma appears unaware of the fact that she isn't human and claims that she isn't even sure that Mermaids exist, readers though get fairly quickly a ''subtle'' hint that suggest [[http://manga.animea.net/berserk-chapter-312-page-21.html something else in an ominous style true to this series]] [[spoiler:Later it turns out that she didn't lie about being unaware of what she is, what's more her cheerful and kind behaviour really is her true personality which is quite a surprise [[DarkFantasy considering the]] [[CrapsackWorld setting]].]]
* ''Manga/HekikaiNoAion'': The mermaids need to consume "psyche", only obtained by killing people with tsunamis or earthquakes. In-universe, they're responsible for the sinking of Atlantis, Mu and the destruction of Pompeii, and they are the primary targets of the protagonist. The youngest of them is able to change into a fully human form to move around on land.
* ''Manga/ZekkyouGakkyuu'' features a story about mermaids living in a school pool who take only the beautiful to their land to make them even moreso. [[spoiler: The mermaid is real, but it's actually a linked chain of animate drowned corpses that kills girls and adds their bodies to itself.]]
* In VampirePrincessMiyu, [[spoiler: Rima Minami]] sees to be the typical mermaid with fish tail and able to breathe underwater kept into a fish tank by her father. The twist is that [[spoiler: said dad is a Shinma (and her mom is said to have been a normal mermaid), and Rima also has a twin sister named Mari who does ''not'' have anything mermaid-ish, but shares a PsychicLink with Rima that lets the captive mermaid-Shinma girl see the outside world.]]
* In MahouSenseiNegima, one character, [[spoiler: [[PassionateSportsGirl talented swimmer]] [[YamatoNadeshiko Akira]] [[TheQuietOne Ookochi]]]], can turn herself into a mermaid for a short time [[spoiler:using her Pactio. Sort-of: she gains a fish tail and can teleport through water.]]
* ''Casual Inevitability Contact''set around Hoi, Vietnam are depicted as dark/black-skinned that either come in black and [[DarkSkinnedBlonde blonde]] or the latter grow into the former along with [[HornedHumanoid horns,]] OverlyLongTongue, FacialMarkings, CuteLittleFangs, more tattered looking tails than usual and would be almost otherwise a bit more CuteMonsterGirl than Ariel except they have webbed fins/pseudo-legs like the Soul Collectors from {{Inuyasha}} that they can somewhat use like tentacles on land since they don't transform. The shota and his uncle in the story "fish" for them with baitless hooks that's more like a [[LampshadedDoubleEntendre different kind of]] [[VisualPun "hooking up"]] where the mermaids use the lines like rope to be harmlessly reeled on-board to decide if they want to have consensual sex with the fisherman who caught them. The boy ''lucks out'' with a full-grown ShotaCon with ''no'' SeashellBra that gives him the power to breathe underwater via [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext French-kiss]] while a TokenMiniMoe has a crush on the uncle since she gets herself caught by him twice and wants to stay with him afterwards.
* In the world of ''Manga/StealthSymphony'', merpeople are often captured and sold as slaves, and are perpetually in half-fish form but can live on dry land. One of them, a mermaid named Wavess, was able to break free and, in something of a sadistic revenge, [[spoiler:haded a large operation of capturing and selling ''humans'' (and other species) as slaves. She likes to sneak in undercover among the groups of captured slaves, [[HopeSpot building up hope by giving them encouraging words so as to crush it later]].]] Unique to her, she has the ability [[MakingASplash to control any water that comes into contact with her blood]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has, on-and-off throughout the years, had a variety of merfolk cards. They range in appearance from deep-sea fish to [[Comicbook/HellBoy Abe Sapien]]. They tend to be small utility creatures, and have been a standard Blue tribe. Interesting enough, an article on the official site explained the merfolk are magicial in nature, and gave some basic bio specs. Granted, none of the stuff really comes up in the on-card fluff. There are a few subraces of particular note:
** The Rootwater merfolk from the Rath Cycle are hideous, fish-faced monsters that kill members of any other race without hesitation. They apparently started out as normal humanlike merfolk but were altered via {{genetic engineering|IsTheNewNuke}}.
** The merfolk of Saprazzo in the ''Mercadian Masques'' set have the power to switch between legs and fins. On land, they just look like lanky, hairless, blue-skinned humans, sometimes with head fins. They have a vaguely Middle Eastern culture.
** The merrows of the ''Lorwyn'' block are the usual attractive human-looking merfolk, though they have brightly colored skin and flamboyant fins; they're merchants and porters with good diplomatic skills. When Lorwyn is transformed into the dark world of Shadowmoor, though, the merrows become black-hearted monsters with much more piscine features (very similar to the Rootwater merfolk of Rath) who prey on other races as pirates.
*** The comparison here: [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=139400 Lorwyn]], a bit fishy but friendly-looking. [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=158234 Shadowmoor]], looking like a cross between a catfish and Cthulhu.
** Interestingly, because of their position as small blue creatures, combined with the fact that blue gets small flying creatures, there are a number of merfolk in Magic that can fly. The weirdest example would have to be Gaea's Skyfolk, a "[[HybridMonster Elf Merfolk]]" who flies. There has been no attempt to explain this, unlike the other 8 merfolk flyers.
** Currently, [=MtG=] merfolk come with legs, which allows there to be sea themed races without the entire oddness of creatures that can swim in water, and so should beat any non-water breather there, but that can't do much on the atmosphere.
*** Those would be Zendikar's. They are also heavy on flyers, some - but not all - due to riding large birds or flying manta rays.
* The ''Odyssey'' and ''Onslaught'' blocks introduced Cephalids, a squid-based type of merfolk that were more squid than humanoid, with soft bodies and limited mobility out of water. In keeping with the "evil tentacles" motif, most of the cephalids were right bastards.
* The Mermail archtype in [[Tabletopgame/YuGiOh the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game]]. There are some monsters that fit the traditional fish tailed depiction. But some like [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Mermail_Abyssdine Abyssdine]] are {{Unscaled|Merfolk}} and The Level 7 ones like [[http://yugioh.wikia.com/wiki/Mermail_Abyssteus Abyssteus]] are straight up FishPeople.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Comicbook/{{Superman}}'s ex, Lori Lemaris, is a mermaid (it's... complicated) who lived on land by using a wheelchair and keeping her tail covered. Eventually she was magically given the power to turn into a human (any contact with water changes her back, though.)
* In ''ComicBook/TeenTitansGo'', the comic adaptation ''of'' the [[AnimatedAdaptation Animated]] [[WesternAnimation/TeenTitans Adapatation]] of ''Comicbook/TeenTitans,'' Gill Girl is a FishPerson who, unlike most, isn't human-looking enough to be your typical hot mermaid. She is tearing up the city searching for [[spoiler: her mate... revealed to be a normal, non-anthropomorphic turtle.]] Other than her (and we don't get her story) most Atlanteans are of the Aquaman/Aqualad entirely human-looking style (except for the solid-black eyes, in Aqualad's case [purple-irised in the original comics].)
** Gill Girl was possibly inspired by TheDCU character Lagoon Boy, who was introduced in Erik Larsen's ''Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}'' run as a representative of one of various oceanic humanoid races who comprised Atlantis' minority groups (merfolk and Aquaman-type humanoids being the majority). L.B. is basically a teenage version of the Film/CreatureFromTheBlackLagoon, with the ability to expand like a puffer fish.
* MarvelComics Atlanteans, and various subraces, are an interesting example. Their appearance generally depends on what continuity is active at the time. In the SilverAge, Marvel Atlanteans were the human inhabitants of Atlantis until it sank, whereupon they were turned into blue-skinned water breathers by the god Neptune. In earlier comics, the men looked like fishmen and they weren't actually ''from'' Atlantis. When Namor was reintroduced in the 1960s with the Fantastic Four, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby retconned the Submariners (what they used to call Namor's mother's race) to Atlanteans as water breathing blue skinned people. Hybrids apparently can breathe air, are stronger than either race, and can fly with wings on their feet. There were also green-skined fish-men who were the later Lemurian offshoot, mutated by the snake-god they worshiped.
** Namor is the only one with the wings though, and that's because ''in addition'' to being a HalfHumanHybrid, he is also a mutant.
* Creator/CrossGen's ''ComicBook/{{Scion}}'' has a variety of humanoid sea-dwellers who were descended from a genetically-engineered servant species, but had broken free and lived in an UnderwaterCity. They were smallish, gray humanoids with two legs and gills.
** And their leaders (?) look like giant, luminescent brine shrimp. No, I'm not joking.
* In ''ComicBook/GoldDigger'', Atlanteans are humanoid amphibious aliens with dolphin-like skin, gills, and small fins on their arms and legs to assist in swimming.
* ''MeatCake'' has Effluvia, a beautiful but slutty mermaid who flirts with sailors -- and then lures them to their deaths and turns their souls into jewelery. She travels about on land with a wheelchair, usually.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'', Abe Sapien is basically a [[Film/CreatureFromTheBlackLagoon gill-man]]. A good-natured, erudite, streamlined gill-man.
* The ElfQuest spin-off ''Wave Dancers'' played with this in several ways. (The "mermaids" were [[OurElvesAreBetter space elves]] modified by magic to live in the water. Exactly ''how'' they were modified varied wildly.)
** One of the females is the octopus variation, but not shunned or evil. Her lower half looks like a hoop skirt made of tentacles.
* ''ComicBook/{{Fathom}}'' is about a race of beings who can turn into water or use it as a weapon, among other things.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Fic]]
* In ''Fanfic/KeepersOfTheElements'', there are the mermaids who live in Aequori Kingdom. They are all shown to wear regular tops on their top halves. The [[MakingASplash previous Water Keeper]] Marissa lived there for some time and even fell in love with one of mermen there, eventually getting him changed to a human somehow and going to Earth to live with her where they eventually had a family together.
* In ''Fanfic/AnAnthemForShelteredBays'', at first Eren and his village appears to be the standard half-human, half-fish mermaid and Mikasa is an octopus based mermaid but the former are escaped genetic experiments that were originally human [[spoiler: and the latter were a branch that evolved within the sea. Mikasa's people were killed because of this and both variations cannot procreate with each other.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Any of the many, many, derivatives of "Literature/TheLittleMermaid" always use "The Little Mermaid Method" of course.
** The most famous being [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Disney's]], which features a time limitation (three days), a price (like always, her voice), and a clause which means Ariel turns into a polyp if she can't get Eric to kiss her in time. Note that this is all due to Ursula's plot; it's not a limitation of the spell (either that or Triton has more powerful magic).
** There was also Ursula herself, who had an octopus bottom despite supposedly being related to Ariel and Triton.
** Ursula being Ariel's aunt was left out of the final film and the sequel seems to follow this with her sister Morgana having the same tentacle bottom.
* Interestingly, the mermaids in Disney's ''Disney/PeterPan'' are of the "dangerously amoral" type, especially for its time. Their shell bras are much more "realistic" than Ariel's, which comes later; they're not held on by any straps, they're just sea-creatures attached to the mermaids' chests. One of them is quite obviously only covered by a flower lei, and another by her [[GodivaHair hair]]. When Wendy meets them, they attack her. When Peter calls them on this, one of them protests, "We were only trying to drown her!" By the time ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' came around, Disney had toned down its mermaids quite a bit, and no one seems to remember the ones from ''Peter Pan''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas'' has an "Underwater Gal" as a scene-stealing minor character. She is essentially a Mermaid-as-[[CuteMonsterGirl Monster-Girl]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Splash}}'', obviously. Daryl Hannah plays the mermaid in question and much hijinx comes from her trying to pass herself as a human to her love interest (played by Tom Hanks). She transforms whenever her legs get wet.
* The film version of ''Film/{{Aquamarine}}'' follows "The Splash Method" - but see Literature below. She also has to turn back into a mermaid after sunset so she takes up residence in the town's water tower each night. She's also able to grant a wish to any human that helps her. As long as "it doesn't violate the laws of physics".
* MadeForTVMovie ''[[Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch Sabrina, Down Under]]'' has a merperson colony. It follows "The Little Mermaid Method"; no payment but there is a time limitation on Sabrina's spell which turns merman Barnaby human.
* ''Film/{{Dagon}}'' starts with the protagonist having a dream about a classic mermaid, only that it turns out she had sharp teeth. Later in the movie, he meets that mermaid... [[spoiler:but she does not look like a typical mermaid or have the fangs she had in the dream. She looks like a human with gills along her ribs and a long, squid-like tentacle in place of each leg]].
** She was also [[spoiler:his half-sister]] and [[spoiler:wanted him to marry her.]] Yay Lovecraft.
* The ''Film/CreatureFromTheBlackLagoon''. Now, now, he is ugly and lives in TheAmazon rather than the sea -- but he IS still ''technically'' a merman.
* The Made-for-PAX-TV Movie ''Mermaids'' (not to be confused with the 1980s Cher vehicle - which has nothing to do with mermaids) features the "Splash Method," with an added complication: the protagonists also turn into mermaids at low tide every night. They're also bound by some kind of natural law to grant wishes for humans. If a human says "I wish" within their presence, they're forced to grant it.
* The 2003 film version of ''Film/PeterPan'' featured mermaids that look to simply be beautiful half-naked women with fish-tails; you don't notice the claws and the needle-sharp teeth at first.
* The live-action film ''Film/{{Hook}}'', which has Peter Pan revisiting Neverland as an adult, has a brief scene with a trio of mermaids. They appear as half-beautiful woman, half-fish creatures with brightly-colored hair, each giving Peter a kiss to give him air before sending him up to the Lost Boys' camp in a giant oyster.
* Ben Stiller appears as a mer''man'' in a TV commercial from ''{{Zoolander}}''.
* "She Creature" (aka "Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature") is an example of evil and [[spoiler: ugly (sometimes)]] merfolk.
* The MadeForTVMovie ''The Thirteenth Year'' has its mermaids and mermen appear as normal human children up until their 13th birthday, upon which they begin to go through a fishy puberty where they acquire a mishmash of marine animal abilities. In addition to becoming able to swim very well and hold his breath underwater for several minutes, the lead character starts to grow scales on his arms, discovers he can [[WallCrawler scale walls]] thanks to octopus powers, and discovers he can [[ShockAndAwe produce electricity]] thanks to electric eel heritage. And this is all before his legs become a fishy tail. That still doesn't explain why he swims like a dolphin rather than any normal stroke (he is on his high school swim team) before the transformation.
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' features pretty naked women with fishtails...who also have fangs and will rape you (given that [[OneGenderRace there's no men]], it's apparently the only way they can supply their numbers) and eat you until there's nothing left. If you're lucky, you drown before the latter happens. But ignoring that, they can be very nice.
** They are also strong enough that in large groups they can tear an entire wooden ship apart in moments.
** Their fins can turn into legs if on land, but they don't do this very often, so they aren't very good at at it. Also, despite being aquatic creatures, they need air to breath. But will apparently dry out and die if left out of water for too long.
** They can also shoot seaweed out of their hands like Franchise/SpiderMan.
* There's a running joke in ''Film/TheCabinInTheWoods'' about one character's desire to see a "merman." His partner replies, "Why? Those things are terrifying." [[spoiler:He does eventually get to see one... shortly before it eats him, causing him to let out an exasperated "oh, ''come on!''" as his FamousLastWords.]]
* In ''Film/LocalHero'', the mermaid Marina only has webbed toes. [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane Or maybe she's just a woman with webbed toes]].
* The upcoming 2014 film [[AttackOfTheKillerWhatever Killer]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhClk8DkF4I Mermaid.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Creator/HansChristianAndersen's "Literature/TheLittleMermaid", of course. In the original tale, mermaids lived three hundred years before turning into sea foam; they did not have [[OurSoulsAreDifferent immortal souls]] and could not acquire one except through marriage to a human, which would give them the right to share in the human destiny. The Sea Witch required her most precious possession - her unusually fine voice - as payment for the transformation spell, since it required the Witch's own blood, and the voice was not refundable; the Sea Witch cut out her tongue. The transformation was ''very'' painful, as though she had been cut with a sword, and she was warned up front that forever afterward, every step she took would feel as though she were treading on knives. She was also warned that if the prince married someone else, her heart would break and she would turn to sea foam just as if she had lived out her full three hundred years.
** At the VERY end, the mermaid who wanted a soul dies and becomes an air spirit who can earn a [[OurSoulsAreDifferent soul]] by 100 years of good deeds - with the {{Anvilicious}} remark that an air spirit's time may be reduced if she sees well-behaved children who make her smile, or increased if she sees wicked children who make her weep.
** Arguably, the [[DisneyFication Disney version]] is the more sadistic and power-hungry version of the sea-witch, placing not only a time limit on the spell, but planning to ruin the mermaid's chance at happiness herself and steal the kingdom to boot. The original witch is neither good nor evil, and warns the mermaid of the consequences presented by the deal she wishes to make.
** The witch provides the only way out of the spell to the mermaid's concerned sisters: a special knife for her to kill the prince in order to splash his heart's blood over her legs, reverting them to their fishtail form. The knife was much cheaper -- all of her sisters' hair!
* ''Literature/{{Halvgudene}}'' is a quite weird example. They have both women and men, that are all siblings and they vote forth their new leader which they call Mother or Father [[CaptainObvious based on their gender.]] They are are a little more like FishPeople due to having gills on their necks and have fish-like eyes.
* Donna Jo Napoli's novel ''Sirena'' portrays mermaids in the traditional beautiful, sailor-seducing manner but adds a few details. Her mermaids (and their ocean-dwelling brothers mermen) are the product of the god Eros having sex with a tropical fish. They become immortal if they mate with humans.
* In the ''Ingo'' Young Adult books by Helen Dunmore, the Mer ('''don't''' call them Mermaids, Mermen, or Merfolk) are described as [[SelkiesAndWereseals half-human, half-seal]]. They can't become human but humans can become Mer apparently. They don't like humans very much, except for the {{Half Human Hybrid}}s with whom they can communicate.
* In ''Four Kids, Three Cats, Two Cows, One Witch (Maybe)'' Kevin tells Beverly a story about a family of merpeople where the father gets fed up of being neglected by his family and leaves to marry a human woman. He loses his tail because of this but is able to regain it at night time.
* The original, printed page ''{{Aquamarine}}'', by Alice Hoffman, centers around a Mermaid who is stranded in a swimming pool after a storm. She's a bit self-centered, but eventually realises she will need the help of the only humans who know about her if she is ever to return home and to her sisters. She cannot transform into a human ''at all''. The rescue actually takes some time and effort -- enough time for Aquamarine to develop a crush on a human man...
* There's also Indigo, also by Helen Dunmore, which is about two HalfHumanHybrid boys, who have webbing between their fingers and toes, can hold their breath for a very long time, drink salt water, love eating fish, and constantly daydream about the ocean. Their mother was a traditional mermaid with a tail instead of legs, however.
* The EmilyWindsnap books also use "The Splash Method".
** It's also worth mentioning they have pockets in their tail.
*** Actually, only a "semi-mer", with one mermaid and one human parent, can become a mermaid when totally immersed in water, and will become human again when not, wet or dry; [[spoiler:they can even take showers and baths, evidenced by the protagonist, who didn't learn she was a mermaid until taking a swimming class at the age of 13; full mermaids are permanently mermaids and cannot even become a human by use of magic, as King Neptune, who at one time loved a human woman, could not even transform her, though she desperately wished to go into the sea with him; this, actually, is her downfall, as she dives deep into the sea, believing Neptune's love for her, and her's for him, will allow her to live beneath the ocean, however, she drowns, which is one reason the Sea King gains a strong hatred of humans, banning mer-human relationships (which explains why Emily's father, a merman, is in prison in the first novel)]]
* [=MaryJanice=] Davidsons' ''Fred the Mermaid'' erotica/paranormal romance has Fredericka Bimm as a lead character. She and the other mermaids in the series can simply become human at will. Even their human form is much faster and stronger than a normal human and they are all telepathic except for Frederika who is only teklepathic underwater.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'' merpeople appear during the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament, when Harry and the other Champions have to visit their village in the school's lake. The merpeople Harry meets are rather ugly by human standards, with gray skin, green hair and yellow teeth and eyes. The spin-off media book ''Fantastic Creatures And Where To Find Them'' mentions that there are at least three kind of mermaids--the Scottish [[SelkiesAndWereseals selkies]] that Harry sees, the Irish merrow and the warm-water [[SirensAreMermaids sirens]])--and that the latter apparently fit the more traditional, "beautiful" model.
* You don't get much more different than Feejee the Mermaid (heh) in ''Literature/TalesOfMU''. She can change at will between '''three''' forms: standard lady-half/fishie-half mermaid, an intermediate form with a distinctly humanoid lower half covered in scales, and fully human-like. [[spoiler:She can also assume a sort of [[OneWingedAngel fighting form]] by growing scale-armor all over her body and claws on her hands. It's implied she can also change her face to a... less appealing form.]] Oh, and she ''[[ImAHumanitarian eats people]]''.
** In fact, it's fairly strongly implied that merfolk in that universe basically ''are'' intelligent predatory fish with the magical ability to take on shapes more appealing to humanoids as a lure! They even have a myth about their goddess inspiring the land-dwellers to build ships ''for the express purpose of providing them with food''...
** Shapeshifting allows [[PunnyName Feegee]] to overcome the MermaidProblem with her boyfriend, though only for recreation. Mermaids actually reproduce in a more fishy way. They spawn.
* Creator/HPLovecraft's enigmatic ''Deep Ones'' are supposed to be the truth-behind-the-myth of mermaids. They're immortal, extremely unattractive... and they can [[NoBiochemicalBarriers mate with humans]]. The offspring are born [[HalfHumanHybrid effectively human]], but undergo a slow metamorphosis.
%%** Minor note: The capacity for interbreeding is Handwaved by Lovecraft as "all life has a common descent," never mind the fact humans can't even breed with the closet-related thing, chimps.
** Humans are willing to do this for ''huge'' amounts of gold, sharing of knowledge of BlackMagic, and because the offspring never grow old (Carrying on my family by making immortal kids? I'll put a bag over her head!)
*** Worth noting as well that this is something of a bait and switch deal. The humans are given treasures and powers in exchange for minor deeds up until the Deep Ones are sure that their chosen human is completely dependent on them, then comes the proposition.
**** Deep One hybrids can retain their human appearance for decades before undergoing the transformation, long enough for themselves to interbreed with humans and pass along the Deep One gene.
* Creator/PeterSBeagle wrote a short story called ''Salt Wine'' where a merman rewards a sailor who rescued him by giving him the recipe for salt wine. It makes him rich, but then it turns out that [[spoiler:a small number of those who drink it become transformed into mer-creatures themselves]]. Here, mermaids are portrayed as wild and inhuman, and they range from supernaturally hideous to supernaturally beautiful.
* Creator/JohnRingo's ''[[Literature/CouncilWars Emerald Sea]]'' features mermen and mermaids created by genetic engineering. They look like traditional merfolk but have a unique physiology combining fish and dolphin traits. They also find it hard to survive in the ocean after the loss of technology reduces them to a stone-age hunter-gatherer society.
* Another very different—though friendlier—variation are Vonda [=McIntyre=]'s "divers", who appear in several of her works. Imagine people with some sea-lion-like traits engineered in, plus lungs modified for use in either air or water. That's the short description. (They're also usually described as attractive...and decidedly ''not'' subject to the MermaidProblem.)
** [=McIntyre=]'s historical fantasy novel ''The Moon and the Sun'' has the sea people, who have hind limbs adapted for swimming instead of fish tails, as well as webbed fingers and claws. They also have an anatomical adaptation (just like that of the divers, only they come by it naturally rather than being genetically engineered) that allows them to breathe water as well as air. And their language consists of songs.
* Piers Anthony's ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' series does the VoluntaryShapeshifting route, while his standalone book ''Mercycle'' uses genetically modified descendants of normal humans, in whom the structure of human legs (complete with * ahem* equipment) is hidden within the tail.
** Thea, in ''Mute'', is a mutant with legs fused from the knee down and flipperlike feet. And yes, she averts the MermaidProblem quite handily.
* The post-apocalyptic mermaids in Alida Van Gores' ''Mermaid's Song'' come in two varieties: Mirra (traditional) and Mog [[FishPeople (more fish-like)]]. The Mirra have dolphin-like tails (and reproductive organs) and constitute an [[BeautyEqualsGoodness oppressed minority.]] Unusually, neither species can transform, since humans appear to be extinct and the surface world doesn't figure into the story much at all.
* The Cray from ChinaMieville's ''Literature/TheScar'' are essentially lobster-bodied centaurs (lobtaurs?).
** The Grindylow from the same novel are much less friendly mermen.
* In Kai Meyer's first installment of the ''DarkReflectionsTrilogy'', ''The Water Mirror'', the mermaids who inhabit Venice appear to be normal-looking women with fish tails- until you notice that their mouths are larger, longer, and filled with very sharp teeth. They are sentient but are considered bestial by the Venetians, who use them to pull their gondolas and ocassionally eat them. They cannot assume human form through magical means, but one mermaid lives as a human thanks to surgically-created legs and a mask covering the lower half of her face.
* In Creator/PaulJennings's short story ''Nails'', merfolk can interbreed with humans, but the offspring look perfectly human up until their teens. Then their fingernails and toenails start to apparently multiply... these are actually developing scales, and when the process is complete, the hybrid has become a new merperson, legs fusing together into a tail which, like their arms, is covered in scales.
** To be more exact, the mermen have legs but are covered in scales up to their necks while mermaids are just traditional merfolk, so only a female half-breed's legs would fuse.
* K?b? Abe's short story ''Ningyoden'' (Mermaid Legend) is about a man falling in love with a flesh-eating mermaid. There's also some cloning involved. Since his work was influenced by Creator/FranzKafka it's also a MindScrew.
* Three examples from the work of JackChalker:
** The Umiau from Chalker's ''Literature/WellWorld'' series are an alien species of aquatic mammals that just happen to look remarkably like traditional mermaids. (They're also {{Hermaphrodite}}s, which sure solves the MermaidProblem. Another aquatic race resembles sea lions.
** Mermaids in the ''Literature/RiverOfDancingGods'' series are half human and half dolphin but their social organization resembles a pack of hyenas crossed with the mafia. They make their living extorting protection money from fishermen.
** The {{Half Human Hybrid}}s of Chalker's GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke novel ''TheMoreauFactor'' (note the title) include at least three species of merfolk: [[HalfHumanHybrids hermaphroditic frog-women]], [[UnscaledMerfolk humanoid dolphins]] and "Creature from the Black Lagoon"-style FishPeople.
* Creator/LSpragueDeCamp features mermaids in several fantasy stories. In all of them (even ones in different continuities) the mermaids are part dolphin, rather than part fish. They are also streamlined for swimming, so the females breasts are generally smaller than those typically portrayed in mermaid art. The mermaids are fairly friendly: in one story ("Nothing in the Rules") one is even paid to enter a swim meet.
* Merfolk appear briefly in ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' series. The ones on the coast of Narnia can leave the water for short periods and attend the coronation at the end of ''Literature/TheLionTheWitchAndTheWardrobe''; later, out in the deep oceans in ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'', Lucy encounters a wilder breed who (they deduce) stay submerged all the time. Notably in the latter case Creator/CSLewis points out that from the point of view of underwater people, mountains and valleys' characteristics are reversed - mountains are the warm civilised areas near the surface, valleys are the mysterious dark areas populated by monsters. Another difference between the sea people that live near the coast of Narnia and the ones in the deep oceans is that coastal merfolk are portrayed as traditional mermaids and mermen with human heads, arms, and torsos, and long green fishtails beelow the waist, with the merfolk of the Eastern Sea are bipedal with regular human legs. (At least according to the illustrations.).
* Creator/AlastairReynolds wrote about "Denizens" in his ''Literature/RevelationSpace'' series; the Denizens were created by genetic engineering and are thorough fusions of human and fish DNA, along with sequences to secrete antifreeze and let them breathe hydrogen sulfide instead of oxygen. They look thoroughly monstrous.
* In ''The Merman's Children'' by PoulAnderson merfolk are humanoid, with bluegreen skin, webbed hands and feet, gills and attractive enough that one of them seduces a human woman and has children by her.
* In the ''[[DoctorWhoExpandedUniverse Doctor Who]]'' tie-in spin off ''Genius Loci'' one of the characters tells BerniceSummerfield a gruesome mermaid story in which a fisherman, with a fine sense of the pragmatic, chops a mermaid in two and takes the fish half home as his catch of the day. The bifurcated mermaid turns out to have been the daughter of the queen of the mermaids and hilarity ensues.
* In Creator/DanAbnett's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} novel ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake'', Aekon thinks [[YouthIsWastedOnTheDumb he has been underwater too long]] because he is hallucinating a merman come to claim his life and carry off his soul. Then he realizes that it looks just like one of his squad-mates, and then he realizes it is the SpaceMarine in question, come to ensure that he survives.
* {{Goosebumps}}: Deep Trouble - The main character is rescued by a mermaid before it is captured and almost sold to a zoo by the mean humans.
* In Andrei Belianin's ''Thief of Baghdad'', the main character (FishOutOfTemporalWater with LaserGuidedAmnesia) and his friend [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasreddin Nasreddin]] encounter a mermaid, who will only help them if one of them satisfies her. The main character, recognizing the MermaidProblem promptly passes the "honor" to Nasreddin. After some time, Nasreddin returns with a smile. When asked, he is surprised that his companion doesn't know that mermaids briefly turn into humans when they want to "get it on".
* In JohnCWright's ''[[Literature/ChroniclesOfChaos Fugitives of Chaos]]'', Amelia speaks of sailors who brought back mermaid wives -- whose tails transformed when their wedding bells rang.
* Kit Whitfield's Deepmen in ''In Great Waters'' are air breathing (although they can stay under for up to 30 minutes) mammals with tails, notably less intelligent than humans, although they have a language it's limited to purely practical matters, abstract concepts like religion being alien to them and can breed with humans. In fact all the royal houses of Europe (and possibly the world) [[HalfHumanHybrid have some Deepman blood]].
* "[[Literature/ThePrincessSeries The Mermaid's Madness]]" by Jim C. Hines features a proud tribe of merfolk (they prefer the term "Undine") who appear to be of the standard human-on-top, fish-on-bottom variety. Members of the nobility of this tribe differ however, in that they have two tails (bypassing the MermaidProblem quite nicely.)
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ConanTheBarbarian story "The Pool of the Black Ones", the arrival of a man on the deck of a ship at sea raises the question whether he's a merman. No, it's Conan. He's just been swimming for a while.
* The Franchise/StarTrekNovelVerse has the Alonis, an aquatic race who resemble merfolk. That is, their upper half is vaguely humanoid and the lower half is a fish-like tail. They don't have hair, being scaly all over, and their "arms" are actually just lengthy fins, but the merfolk comparison is made. Lacking opposable digits, they used their [[MakingASplash telekinetic control of water]] to build an advanced civilization. They appear in the ''StarTrekDeepSpaceNineRelaunch'', ''StarTrekTheLostEra'', ''Literature/StarTrekTyphonPact'' and elsewhere.
* In a fantasy book called {{Elsewhere}}, mermaids apparently swim in the ocean that's in between the world of the living and the dead (ItMakesSenseInContext). They briefly appear when the main character is trapped under the water, unable to move or breathe. They are beautiful, but vain and meanspirited, making fun of how ugly she is before leaving her to drown. They seem more like the FairFolk than evil though.
* Sarah Porter's ''Lost Voices'' Trilogy has a rather [[DarkerAndEdgier dark and unique]] take on mermaids. Certain young human girls have the potential to come back as mermaids, if they suffered severe abuse or neglect in their human lives. They are reborn as beautiful mermaids with fish tails and [[EnthrallingSiren enchanting]] voices that can entrance or madden humans - though the talent is actually pretty rare considering. These mermaids are ageless, though not completely immortal, and all still traumatized from what they endured in life. They also act a bit like water mammals - they do breath air, but they can hold it for a very long time underwater. They sink ships and drown people as revenge against all of humanity for what was done to them by parents/caretakers and other people in their previous lives - this is also implied to be something like an instinct. They form tribes in the oceans (this is for survival, as they can still be killed by humans, sharks, etc. and still need to eat, though they can survive on raw shellfish) and have strict laws against having any contact with humans other than singing them to their doom. Once transformed, they can't survive out of the water for long, and if trapped on dry land, they will revert to human form and then die(a very painful process). It is implied that certain young men and boys have the same kind of potential if badly treated in life, but attempts to transform them are usually unsuccessful.
* In L. Jagi Lamplighter's ''[[ProsperosDaughter Prospero Regained]]'', several mermaids play minor roles. We are told that one recovered Hector of Troy's sword, Duranadel, to be given to Roland.
* The Ustredi in ''Literature/ChroniclesOfMagravandias''. They are not dissimilar to TheFairFolk. Some are just straight-up FishPeople and some are so beautiful it hurts to look at them. The beautiful ones are the most dangerous. The Palindrake family has the ability to command the Ustredi through means of an ancient contract.
* Mermaids appear in the third book in Michael Scott's ''TheSecretsOfTheImmortalNicholasFlamel'' "''The Sorceress''". They are the daughters of Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea who has the octopus bottom but they all have fish tails. Josh notes that some are beautiful women while others resemble fish and crabs. They all have green skin and sharp teeth and claws (hint: they're not on the side of good) as well as having apparent powers through singing. [[spoiler: Virginia Dare]] is attacked by one and claims to have stolen her voice, leaving her mute and then implies Nereus will "dispose of her" since she is useless to him now.
* In the Kathi Appelt novel ''Keeper'', a young boy named Jacques is a merman; he changes to his form via the "Splash" method.
* Creator/AnneGreenwoodBrown's young adult novel ''Lies Beneath'' and its sequel ''Deep Betrayal'' feature mermaids who can change into human form at will (though depending on how long they've been out of water, immersion can trigger an immediate, instinctive change, and it is sometimes painful). In mermaid form, a silver ring is visible around their neck. Other abilities include generating electricity (which can be governed by emotions), telepathy with fish, and a telepathic bond with others in their family while in mermaid form, which can only be severed by the head of their family. Mermaids are instinctively drawn to others in the link, and it makes it very hard for a mermaid (or merman) to strike out on their own, though some with stronger wills are capable of doing so. They age at a rate of one year for every three that go by. Mermaids are unable to break a promise once made, and react VERY badly to humans who do so.
** Feeding-wise, ''Lies Beneath'' mermaids can eat normal food, but are drawn to humans whose auras shine with positive emotions, absorbing them directly from the human, leaving them as dried-out husks and providing the mermaid with a brief reprieve from their natural bleakness. They are predators, and act like them.
** Reproduction is done in two ways: first, directly with humans while in human form. After the birth, the infant is left with the father until they learn to walk, at which point they are returned to the mother, and live as a mermaid full-time. The other, less common way is known as "reinvigoration", in which a human drowns and has their heart restarted via the mermaid's electric shock. This method fully converts the human into a mermaid, and bonds them to their new family. It is a very rare event, but can be done, usually by a mermaid who had drowned a victim and had second thoughts.
* In Creator/RuthFrancesLong's ''Literature/TheTreacheryOfBeautifulThings'', Jenny thinks that the nix holding her captive are the origins of the tales. Especially the "luring to death" ones.
* In the short story ''National Geographic on Assignment: Mermaids of the Old West'' (included in the anthology ''Somewhere Beneath Those Waves'', different species of mermaids correspond to different species of fish, including shark and catfish.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The Australian series ''H2OJustAddWater'' is about three girls who, after finding their way to a mysterious island, turn into mermaids following "The Splash Method" after swimming in a [[GreenRocks Magical Pool]] during a [[WeirdMoon full moon]]. They also have powers over water: one can freeze it at will, one a can boil it at will, and the other essentially is a [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender water bender]] (also she can multiply it from a drop to a bucket).
* ''TheManFromAtlantis'' looks like a human but has webbed digits, can breathe underwater, and can withstand extreme depths and pressures.
* In one episode of ''Series/RedDwarf'' when the characters are in a Virtual Reality Program Cat creates himself a Mermaid girlfriend. She's a reverse mermaid with the fish part on top.
-->'''Holly:''' Somehow, I'd imagined she'd be a woman on the top and a fish on the bottom.\\
'''Cat:''' No, that's the stupid way around!
* The [[BritishBrevity short lived]] Pirate SitCom ''CaptainButler'' had the eponymous Captain (played by Creator/CraigCharles) almost marry a mermaid till he found out he'd become a reverse merman if he did.
* In ''Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue,'' Chad (the [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience Blue Ranger]] and team's water-rescue expert) falls in love with a mermaid who can become human as needed but will die if she is away from water for too long.
** ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'' features the first ever Mermaid-themed '''zord'''. Blue Ranger Madison has [[MakingASplash water powers]] and naturally gets the Mystic Mermaid Zord.
** Way before either of those, ''Series/DengekiSentaiChangeman'' had a mermaid-themed hero, though unlike Madison she didn't have a mermaid mecha (she had to share a mech with Change Griffin).
* In ''RoundTheTwist'', "Nails" Linda falls in love with a boy who seemingly has a strange disease which causes him to grow extra fingernails and lose the use of his legs. It turns out he is slowly (and irreversibly) turning into a merman as his mother is a mermaid. This was, like all of the episodes in the first two seasons, based on a Paul Jennings short story- in this case, Nails.
* One episode of ''Series/SoWeird'' features a merman who turns human at will and can remain human even in water, though he's got webbed fingers. There's some sense of urgency to his plan to seduce Molly, which may or may not point to a time limit. He also appears to have the power to turn humans into merfolk.
** A weirder, later episode featured a man who is implied to have turned into a merman by force of will - the valley he lived in was flooded and he refused to leave. By sheer determination, he gained gills and webbed hands so he could remain in his house.
* A "mermaid" (technically, one of a group of people genetically-modified to survive deep underwater) appeared in an episode of ''SeaQuestDSV''. She was of the bordeline-CuteMonsterGirl variety; she didn't have any blatant sea-creature features but sported a set of gills along her rib-cage and webbed digits. She also felt very uncomfortable outside the water. And, out of all the people onboard Sea-Quest, she got along the very best with [[SapientCetacean Darwin]].
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' mermaids have "hearts as cold as the ocean". Phoebe was turned into one. They are also immortal. They can live for hundreds of years but they really don't care since they have cold hearts. They also can't turn into humans willingly. One makes a deal with a sea witch to get legs for 30 days to find love. While this is happening she still turns back into her normal form whenever her legs get wet. A human man professing his love for a mermaid turns her human permanently.
* And, of course, ''Music/FlightOfTheConchords'' mention many of these Mermaid tropes in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZLhUik0tSU their Mermaid song]].
* One of the (supposedly) main characters of ''{{Sanctuary}}'' is a mermaid of the human head/fish tail type. We don't know if she is able to transform, but not likely considering her habitat is water [[spoiler: as is that of her race]]. Also have a type of telepathy to communicate with the members
* ''DarkAngel''': "Gill Girl" featured genetically-engineered mermaid and merman equivalents. They looked mostly human, but had the gills of fish and the echolocation of dolphins.
* The ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' episode "From out of the Rain" featured Pearl, said by the Ghostmaker to be "the closest thing you'll ever see to a living mermaid". She didn't have a tail or gills, but could live in water, glistened like she was wet all the time, and liked to drink tears.
* ''Series/KamenRiderKiva'' features Basshaa, the LastOfHisKind of a race of Gill Man-like creatures, who usually assumes the form of a young boy named Ramon. Thanks to a pact with the title character's father, he can loan his power to Kiva, turning the Rider into a GlassCannon armed with a gun that fires high-power water bullets (which also causes Kiva to act somewhat childish, like Basshaa/Ramon). The Mermen are also a OneGenderRace, with [[AllThereInTheManual the backstory]] mentioning a Mermaid race that resembles the traditional mermaid, and that the two races have to mate with one another.
* In the second series of ''{{Primeval}}'', the team encounter a race of aggressive futuristic sea creatures bearing resemblance to a cross between baboons and elephant seals. WordOfGod reveals the creatures are called "Mer" and they're descended from primates. To support this theory, they have well developed vocal chords and arms rather than flippers. They also sing, although to Connor it sounds more like ''something he once heard in Glastonbury in a "chill-out" tent.''
* A new {{Mockumentary}} ''Film/MermaidsTheBodyFound'' is about merfolk that are the fourth or fifth (depending on whether or not the "Killer Chimpanzee" is real and an actual seperate species) of the descendants of the common chimpanzee/bonobo/ancestor.
* Mermaids appear in two separate episodes of ''SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' as minor characters. In one episode Sabrina has to take over Mercury's deliveries and delivers the wrong package to a mermaid - a pair of high heels so presumably she can't turn into a human. In a seventh season episode Sabrina finds a man who has a mermaid trapped in a cage in his basement as part of his collection. He allows her a small bathtub.
** In one of the novelizations "Age of Aquariums", Sabrina finds a race of merpeople inside the school's new aquarium called the Keftiu. It turns out that it's actually the shrunken lost city of {{Atlantis}}. At first when Sabrina visits them, she simply stays inside a large bubble of air. The second time, she turns herself into a mermaid [[AFormYouAreComfortableWith so they'll trust her]] and pretends to be their mythological "Conch Queen of Doom".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The ReginaSpektor song "Mermaid" is a sideways adaptation of Creator/HansChristianAndersen's "Literature/TheLittleMermaid" set in a modern day city, and mentions that the painful stabbing feeling in her feet causes her to bleed. She claims to have sold her voice for, among other things, a bottle of gin and a bump of cocaine before [[ItMakesSenseInContext the narrative goes completely off the rails]].
* A song about an ocean-going vessel:
-->It was Friday night, when we set sail
-->And we were not far from the land,
-->When the captain spied a lovely mermaid
-->With a comb and a brush in her hand, hand, hand,
-->With a comb and a brush in her hand.
* "The Keeper of the Eddystone Light".
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* ''SafeHavens'' has Remora, who has taught us a lot of unexpected things about merfolk over the years. For example, they use bubbles for currency. Not sure what they use for a wallet.
** They also have the option of either being a merperson 24 hours a day or splitting their time between being a human for half the day and a fish the other half.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Oral Tradition]]
* In some variations of NauticalFolklore, it is possible to take a mermaid captive by stealing an item of magic thus keeping her captive. Because AbductionIsLove she will often marry the man who did this and raise a loving family. But, she will spend all her spare time trying to find it, and once found she will swim away.
** Those who are nice to stranded mermaids on the other hand receive kindness from them. One Scottish boatbuilder rescued a stranded mermaid and wished that no boat he built would ever sink. His family's boats are, according to one version, famous through large parts of Scotland.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* Creator/WilliamsElectronics' ''Pinball/FishTales'' has a beautiful mermaid on the side of the backbox and the far wall of the playfield.
* ''Pinball/{{Barracora}}'' is remembered for its unabasedly unconventional, [[Creator/HRGiger Giger-esque]] mermaids.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop RPG]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}}'' manages to pull off just about ''all'' Mer-types. In addition to the traditional mermaid/man, you also have random aquatic species, and the Amphibs, human mutants who range in appearance from Black Lagoon-like to Fish-headed.
* ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheDreaming'' has the Seelie Merfolk and the Unseelie Murdhuacha (pronounced ''mer-RU-ka''). The Merfolk are what one generally thinks about when one thinks mermaid: their lower halfs are of various bony fish (except for House Melsinee, who instead take the form of air-breathing marine mammals and reptiles). The Murdhuacha are [[WhatMeasureIsANonCute merged with crustaceans, mollusks, and other seagoing invertebrates]]. When either Kith takes to land, their lower halves automatically turn into legs and they resemble Sidhe with their otherworldly beauty.
** There's also a bit of horror, as the Merfolk and Murdhuacha are trying to fight off the game's constantly-oppressive force of Banality. Any changeling who succumbs to Banality loses all access to their fae abilities and forgets all about their second life. Imagine being one of them, and coming to in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean... about five hundred feet down.
** The New World of Darkness variant, ''ChangelingTheLost'', has the SwimmerSkin type of Changeling. They can breathe underwater with a point of Glamour (their "mana", powered by dreams), but cannot breathe air unless they spend another point of Glamour or let the first power expire. There's also an Elemental version, but those aren't Merfolk.
* There are merfolk in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', but there's nothing that really distinguishes them from your standard merfolk model aside from a slight tendency to advance in the bard class.
** TabletopGame/{{Mystara}}, like most ''D&D'' settings, has merfolk, called "merrow". Its are unusual in that they can breed with humans (solving the MermaidProblem via shapechanging by one or the other). The Queen of Aquas, half-sister of the heir to the Empire of Alphatia, is half-merrow on her mother's side.
** ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' also has sea-elves, sea-ogres (merrow), sea-trolls (scrags), sea-ghouls (lacedons), tritons (who are distinct from merfolk) and so on and so forth. Also the sahuagin (shark-men), locathath (generically fishy humanoids), kuo-toa (Lovecraftian Deep Ones), and about a dozen more. Essentially, ''all the above variants and then some''.
** A better rule is "If there is a race that walks on land, there's an aquatic variant. If there isn't, here's the template to make 'em."
* ''TabletopGame/{{Cthulhutech}}'' has the same Deep Ones as anything ''else'' Lovecraft-related, but this time they brainwash small settlements to produce offspring, rather than their standard dependence method. And now they're out to find Cthulhu.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* Dolls in the "Merwees" collection (somewhat similar to PollyPocket, except the dolls were about 3x the size) would change from "human" to "mermaid" when in warm water. They could be changed back (to resemble a human woman wearing leggings) by running them under cold water, or simply leaving them out.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* There's no limitations on Donald's easily reversible spell that allows [[PowerTrio Team Keyblade]] to go to Atlantica in the ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' games - but it does turn Sora, Donald and Goofy into different merfolk than Ariel and Triton. They become human/dolphin, duck/octopus, and [[FurryConfusion whatever the hell Goofy is]]/turtle.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' has the Zoras. They have legs with flippers, sea resistant skin and can breathe underwater. They have the tail of the aquatic animal they're based on instead of ''hair''. They are able to live on land, but can dehydrate quickly.
** And it's implied that they can interbreed with Hylians. Or at least, relationships between the two races aren't unusual. Neither Ruto in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' nor the girl running the treasure box maze game in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' are portrayed as out of the ordinary for their Zora affection.
*** It's heavily implied that one of the Rito (evolved Zoras) in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' had a human ancestor. There must have been a marriage somewhere in the line, though it's unclear whether it happened before the Zora became Rito or afterwards.
** Less pleasant are the "River Zoras" (as they are called in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames Oracle of Ages]]''), also known as "[[SpellMyNameWithAnS Zolas]]" due to a difference in translation, which are green, fish-headed and pop out of the water to shoot fireballs at you. Technically the River Zoras predate the friendlier Sea Zoras, but the latter became more popular.
** There's also Martha, a more traditional mermaid, in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening''.
* The Mermen race in ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}'' are an odd mix of the traditional beautiful merpeople, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Lovecraftian Deep Ones. They have disturbingly beautiful faces, webbed claws for feet and hands, come in a multitude of rainbow colors, and can [[ShapeshifterWeapon transform their body parts]] to mimic the appearance and abilities of any other sea creature - although usually on a bigger scale.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaMan 9'', Splash Woman's look is based on the regular mermaid--female human on top/fish tail on the bottom. She sings to call in a few waves of fish robots and uses a laser trident.
* In ''EVOSearchForEden'', you are able to ''become'' a mermaid, albeit only temporarily, in the last age by stepping into the ocean off the southmost point of South America. While you're first given a workable amphibian version of whatever you've evolved into, you now have the option to "evolve hands and feet"; doing so will turn you into a seal, then a dolphin, then... something the LetsPlay titled "Abomination" for [[http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/EVO/Update%2031/36-evo033ew.jpg a good reason]], and then blonde mermaid. It's not clear which gender you are, but you apparently attack with devastating effect by ''kissing'' your foes. Also, since you cannot evolve further, you cannot replenish HP by minor evolutions, making the boss fight a good deal more difficult. Of course, since you're an evolutionary dead end, once you've defeated the local boss you're returned to the shore as the creature you entered with.
* The Nereids of ''SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'' are essentially a OneGenderRace of mermaids. Due to this they use males of other species in order to breed. This is why [[WifeHusbandry they have a little human boy around with them.]]
* In ''HarvestMoon DS'', one of the special girlfriends is a mermaid. Or at least she would be special if they didn't explain how to get her in the manual. She can't transform and if you want to marry her (yes, you ''can'' marry her) you have to build a pond on your farm first.
** ''RuneFactory 3'' of the Rune Factory spinoff series features Persia, who transforms by the splash method.
* In ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'', mermaids (but no known mermen) are considered ordinary, albeit aquatic, demi-humans. They do not transform on land but can still somehow transport themselves as though walking (necessary for the playable character Irenes), and they can have children with humans (in fact, two of the other playable characters are Irenes's nephew and niece.) The children appear perfectly human (although the son is mentioned to be inhumanly beautiful). No explanation for any of this is even attempted.
* Vaporeon is a ''{{Pokemon}}'' based on a mythical creature in Singapore folklore called a "Merlion" (Think upper body of a lion and lower body of a fish). It's also a walking VisualPun in the sense that it's a feline-like creature with fish-like traits. In other words, either a "Catfish" or a "Sea Lion".
* ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' has the Naga, the cursed elves so transformed at the Sundering. They don't have fish tails per se, but instead have [[SnakePeople serpentine lower bodies]] and can breathe underwater The [[MultiArmedAndDangerous multi-armed]] females are relatively cute as per normal, but males are far more draconian in apperance.
* ''YggdraUnion'' has Undines. They're a OneGenderRace of women with fishtails that use tridents. One notable feature is that they can move on land like a snake. They also appear in its prequel ''VideoGame/BlazeUnion'' and the mostly unrelated ''GloriaUnion''.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' has the Mer-kin, a race of nasty, xenophobic merfolk who worship Lovecraftian horrors.
** It should be noted that the word "merkin" has a real-world meaning. [[spoiler:It's a pubic wig. No, really.]]
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryV'' has the Merfolk, but they are just the standard fishy bottom, human top variety.
* The ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'' series has two mermaids: one in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestII'' and the other in ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV'' The first's colouring bears an uncanny resemblance to Disney's Ariel, whilst the second is blonde and friends with a beach-hermit. Both are voiceless and have minor roles in the game.
* In ''OverlordII'' Mermaids appear as enemies. They're all rather fat compared to other examples.
* In ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl'', Merfolk are [[LoadsAndLoadsOfRaces one of the many]] playable races. Among other things, they're the only race without SuperDrowningSkills; their legs turn back into tails when they enter the water.
* ''TalesOfMonkeyIsland'' has the Vaycalians, a race of mer-people that live in Spinner's cay and left some ancient artifacts across some islands. They are said to have stopped their evolution years ago, and used their technology to give themselves human feet to live on land, but eventually reversed it and returned to the sea. The Vaycalians also have no visible secondary nor TertiarySexualCharacteristics, [[AmbiguousGender making it impossible to tell if they're male or female]], which leads to some awkward moments between the flirty Vaycalians and the happily married Guybrush.
** Not to mention like Real-life Carribean-located water-dwellers, they are very colorful.
* Mermaids are the 'townsfolk' near the Kraken and water crystal in VideoGame/FinalFantasyI. Apparently, they ran out of PeopleOfHairColor.
* ''VideoGame/SagaFrontier'' has Mesarathim, a grey-skinned mermaid who, like Irenes in VideoGame/ChronoCross, spends more time out of water than in, although she'd like to change this.
* There are merpersons in ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress''. Their bones [[http://www.bay12games.com/forum/index.php?topic=25967.0 used to be]] worth as much as ''dragon bone'', though now mermaids (as sentients) are no longer butcherable and don't have valuable bones.
** For a while, players were bypassing the "no butchering sentients" rule to get valuable mer-bone anyway, by [[spoiler: building "mermaid farm" machines that would trap merfolk until they bred, then beach the offspring so they died and their bones rotted clean.]] [[MoralEventHorizon Even Toady thought this was too much]], and tooled down the value of mer-bone.
* Although Aquell from VideoGame/AWitchsTale is supposedly based off of "Literature/TheLittleMermaid", she seems to behave similarly to the mermaids in Literature/PeterPan.
* ''FinalFantasy'' uses typical girls-with-fishy-bottoms mermaids as [=NPCs=] in [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyI the first game]], but somewhere along the way someone decided that they may have been a bit too much of a cliche fantasy element and they haven't appeared in a game since (unless you count the totally-not-[[StarWars Gungans]] Hypello in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX.'')
* In ''WanderingHamster'', there are ''mersheep''. Yep, sheep with a fish tail.
* Mermen in ''BattleForWesnoth'', even if they're doomed to the supplementary in most campaigns, still are a major playable race. A good spectrum of units (3 branched advancement trees covering all main roles) fast and powerful in their own environment, but weakened on the ground.
* The mermaid we meet in the Telltale ''SamAndMax'' games is completely human in appearance (save for oddly-coloured hair), and (by WordOfGod) basically immortal, except for accidents. She's also psychotically evil, but that's probably not a mermaid thing.
** She's not really a mermaid either. Her outfit has a distinct mermaid theme to it, but that's neither here nor there. [[spoiler: She's actualy an unholy golem created from an infernal recipe called "The Cake Of The Damned", and why the ambulatory form of The Cake Of The Damned should be a psychotically evil, attractive young lady in a mermaid-themed outfit is for the writers to know and us to never find out]].
*** At least, [[spoiler:that appears to be the case until episode 305 apparently, and somewhat confusingly, {{Retcon}}s the above, making her actually a mermaid.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}'' allows the player to have a mermaid girl as their partner. She looks like a traditional mermaid, but she has the Dragonians' fin-ears.
* The Undines from ''VideoGame/MonsterRancher 2'' have a transparent, Jell-like appearance and use both water and ice based attacks.
* ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey: The Drowned City'' has mermaids appear in the form of [[spoiler:the Deep Ones]]. The first of these you meet is [[spoiler:their childlike [[AmbiguousGender Prince/Princess]] who can freely spawn them from drops of hir blood]]. Sorta creepy...
* Nami the Tidecaller from ''LeagueOfLegends'' is a member of a mermaid race called the Marai. As well as being rather more fish-like than the usual mermaid (they have pale-skinned humanoid faces and arms, but at least their females have AbsoluteCleavage coats of scales covering their NonMammalMammaries) they also live so deep in the ocean that the light of the sun and moon cannot reach them and they know nothing of the surface world. Nami, at least, can cross land by floating on a small personal vortex of water.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' has Wakasagihime, the fresh water mermaid of Misty Lake. She's normally a gentle {{Youkai}} who spends her time singing songs and picking up rocks, but something caused her to become violent in ''Double Dealing Character'', where she serves as the first boss.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Shantae}}: Risky's Revenge'', mermaids appear as enemies in the aptly named Mermaid Cliffs. They look pretty standard save for the green skin, and they can shoot bubbles with their tridents and dive into puddles to avoid attacks. However, when they die, they shrivel up and turn into a tiny fish before disappearing. The title character eventually gains the ability to turn into a mermaid, and can shoot bubbles underwater.
* ''VideoGame/{{SuikodenIV}}'' packs a mermaid that deviates from the standard fish tail mermaid. While on an island that you shipwreck on, you can meet a mermaid that has legs instead of a tail, but still is called a mermaid in game (by both game text and another character in your party). She can give items if you play nice with her, and also warns the party that the big boss of the island has attacked one of their own.
* The 'Freemium' game ''DawnOfTheDragons'' recently added Merfolk (both male and female). One Merfolk Unique Character has flavor text in her entry about her being captured by fishermen, shifting her tail to legs at will to escape the net, then being told to put her tail back as she "is more valuable with the tail whole".
* Mermaids in ''Videogame/GenjuuRyodan'' can use music to put units into sleep and have the same movement range as foot units without needing to transform their tails into legs at all.
* Mermaids replace the Dolphins in ''[[VideoGame/{{Something}} Something Else]]'', but they only show up in the secret exit path for Mysterious Maze.
* A common type of citizen in ''VideoGame/{{Wadanohara}}''. Since they can't go to the surface due to not having legs, a few of them often ask Wadanohara for favors, like collecting apples.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Zoophobia}}'' has two types of mermaids:
** ''Murms'', which are joke creatures that are brightly-colored, generic mermaids that do nothing but flop about and look silly, yet are beautiful and harmless. They hide the monstrosities that are...
** ''Menaces'', which are monsters related to sirens that [[http://zoophobiacomic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/menace.png lure victims]] into the water with their friendly words, where they tear them apart and feed on their hearts. They are known as "the true mermaids", and are extremely rare to spot.
* In the original vesion of ''ElfLife'', [[GagBoobs extremely talented]] mermaid queen Leukothea gets banished to the surface after fairy queen Glynthial ruins her ability to breathe water. When Airek, a young half-ogre accompanying them, addresses the MermaidProblem, Glynthial points out that mermaids do have functional legs inside their tails which will come out now that she's on land... but as Thea's lived in the ocean her whole life, they'll be hideously stunted and misshapen. Turns out they're quite attractive, actually.
* Well not all, but [[http://www.thebeastlegion.com/characters/the-shadow-nexus/leviatha Leviatha]] from ''TheBeastLegion'' is bad to the bone.
* When the protagonists of ''AccidentalCentaurs'' have to cross an ocean at one point, their helpful genie friend turns them into merfolk instead. (Humans cannot exist in otherspace, but mythological parallels are acceptable.) Alex is at first enthused at the opportunity for hot mermaid sex, until his girlfriend cruelly points out that fish use a different method for reproduction. (Also, the mermaid tails appear to have knees. WTF?)
** Many artists commonly draw merfolk with tails that have knee and ankle joints instead of a spinal column. They'd probably swim much like a human using a monofin, a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monofin single large flipper]] to use both legs at once. If you watch swimming competitions you do notice that when they are underwater (after kicking off the end) they do keep their legs together and use an undulating motion. A horizontal fluke just extends this motion.
* The [[http://www.missmab.com/Demo/mer.php Mer]] from [[DanAndMabsFurryAdventures DMFA]]
* The Solluu from {{Juathuur}}
* ''Pearls of Mer'' a webcomic about a standard, ''Splash'' style mermaid.
* [[ALoonaticsTale Rebecca Burg]] has released concept art which reveals that in Loonatic-land, merfolk are a type of aquatic ''vampire''. When they're luring in prey, they're fairly cute, if slightly overfinned. When they're about to feed, their eyes take on a crazed look, and their mouth splits into a grin which reveals that ''all'' their teeth are razor-sharp. And unlike some vampires in this setting, where being turned isn't even a guarantee, when a mermaid feeds on you, you become one.
* TheDreamlandChronicles [[http://www.thedreamlandchronicles.com/the-dreamland-chronicles/chapter-06/page-376/ Mermaids to the rescue!]]
* Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'s Troll race is divided between a land-dwelling caste and a sea-dwelling caste, the latter of which have vastly different internal anatomy from the others as well as a pair of fins sticking out from their necks. They are the royalty amongst the Trolls, and the only examples we see of them are the heir apparent and a [[AbhorrentAdmirer genocidal noble with a crush on her]] (as well as any paradox-created ancestor/descendants of said two).
* At the end of the first volume of ''TalesOfGnosisCollege'', Li Anwei reveals that she is in the process of a slow transformation into something like a mermaid by showing expanded webbing growing between her fingers. She still looks pretty human when she takes to the sea, though.
* In ''QuestionDuck'', [[http://questionduck.smackjeeves.com/comics/1394051/278/ tragically, love was not possible between a man and a mermaid.]]
* In ''Webcomic/BeachesAndBasilisks'', two distinct varieties have been seen. [[http://bandb.sevensoupcans.com/index.php?id=6 Fish-like merfolk]] are seen early on. Later, Principal Tursiops represents a more human-like type of merfolk.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original]]
* Deviant Art: http://spyra.deviantart.com/art/Symbiosis-30554745 Mermaids are the result of forlorn women jumping into the ocean to reunite with loved ones lost at sea. Either out of revenge or sympathy, the ocean created a new breed of fish that symbiotically joined bodies with the woman so they may survive underwater.
* In TheDragonWarsSaga, the merfolk can shift their tails into legs -- albeit still covered in scales -- for use on land. Many of them live in freshwater and it's been suggested they use this form for migrations if their home dries up. However they become ill if out of the water too long.
* TheWhitestKidsUKnow has a sketch [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyOQoKDkkVQ on this very trope]].
* The one encountered in ''The Adventures of Theatre/TheLeagueOfSTEAM'' episode, "Tall Tails", is of the standard "beautiful woman with fishlike tail" variety.
* DeviantArt member, DoodleBuggy, [[http://doodlebuggy.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4ni8dc drew]] [[http://doodlebuggy.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4npt68 many]] [[http://doodlebuggy.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4okh47]] [[http://doodlebuggy.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d5azlcx pages]] devoted to mermaids based on the myriad marine animals of the sea beyond simple nondescript fish. Also counts as {{Our Centaurs Are Different}}.
* [[http://www.mermaidstail.info Mermaid's Tail Galleries]] has galleries of mermaids based on specific fish (mostly sharks, rays, and freshwater fish) in addition to the usual generic mermaids.
* In Aelan mythology from WebOriginal/UstalNaror islands, mermaids will be beings of eeriness that will drink blood
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong'' mermaids can't switch but they can live on land for long periods. Long enough for one [[spoiler:to go undercover at Jake's school for several months as his principal, using a wheelchair]]. As an additional feature, they seem to have a natural talent for maths. It also features a mermaid who is afraid of water.
* The short lived series ''WesternAnimation/ThePrinceOfAtlantis'' feature a ''legged'' human-dolphinish-hybrid and a half-human-half-ray creature.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' has a episode with Merpeople dwelling in the lost city of Atlanta, who are [[HollywoodEvolution accelerated-by-caffeine-evolved-humans]] who can't switch. Fry falls for one and intends to stay with them until he discovers the MermaidProblem...
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' Lois is rescued by a ''reverse'' merman (human legs, fish head and torso).
** Notably, the actual gag was a discussion of the MermaidProblem. He argues that if he were a normal merman he wouldn't have the appropriate reproductive anatomy, and she argues that while they could technically have sex, it would just be weird.
* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' has Dyris, who initially appears as an innocent variety of mermaid with the appearance of a beautiful maiden and a fish-like lower half. She later turns out to be an evil seductress who uses her feminine wiles to trick the Xiaolin monks into helping her plan to submerge the entire world. Also, when she steps on dry land, she [[InvoluntaryShapeshifting spontaneously shapeshifts]] into a [[OneWingedAngel giant, amphibious monster]], and returns to her original form when wet.
* Milo Manara's ''City Hunters'' had Odysseus and a friend catching mermaids. It's seen that Odysseus seduces a traditional mermaid, and his friend "jumps on a grenade" with a reverse mermaid.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' took place on a planet of HumanAliens who could become mermaids by swimming in a magic pool. It later turns out that the pool allowed the aliens to actually [[VoluntaryShapeshifting take on any form they wished]]. This allowed Seaspray to become a merman (although with Transformer feet) and one of the mermaids to become a Transformer who took the form of a gondola. And then Rumble turned into a tree (Let us not forget that the old-school Transformers could get downright strange sometimes).
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfSuperMarioBros3'', Mario met a reverse mermaid named [[PunnyName Holly Mackerel]] who was both unattractive (hence that episode's title, "The Ugly Mermaid") and not very bright (she thought Mario, wearing a Frog Suit, was an actual frog).
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheMarvelousMisadventuresOfFlapjack'' mermaids cry candy tears that grant wishes when eaten that are stored in a heart-shaped jar. Making wishes causes the Mermaids to [[BodyHorror rapidly age and disintegrate]] until all of the tears are used up. Then they turn into beautiful, healthy Skymaids.
--> '''Captain K'nuckles:''' "Mermaids are weird."
* From ''WesternAnimation/TheSuper6'' we have Super Scuba's GirlFriday Bubbles, a mermaid who tags along with him on his underwater cases.
* In the first season of ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}'', Dethklok writes the song Murmaider. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS6Bf4G-qLA video]] features traditional mermaids at war with considerably uglier, crustacean-themed mermaids.
--> '''Nathan:''' "This one's called Murmaider!"
--> '''Murderface:''' "It's about mermaid murder."
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'', Dot and Bob turn into shark-people to participate in a game. Unusually, their fin stroke horizontally, like true fish. Their bodies are also slender, and very long.
* ''WesternAnimation/BubbleGuppies'' flips the mermaid concept on its head. The merpeople on the show are tiny, about the size of guppies. They can't change shape, but apparently they've developed the ability to swim through air.
* ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'' features a merman, right down to the SeashellBra.
* Marina from the French cartoon ''WesternAnimation/ZigAndSharko'' is mostly a typical mermaid, except she can survive on land and walk on her tail fins. Also, her parents are a mermaid and a human man, [[MermaidProblem somehow]].
* Applied to Iguana Seals in AllThereInTheManual in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Similar to the manatee-mermaid misidentification, the hybrid animals were often mistaken as mermaids by sailors due to their melodious sounds. Like the manatee, upon realizing they were nothing but seal-finned aquatic reptiles, they were subsequently killed for food.
* The Blue Mermaid from ''WesternAnimation/TeamUmizoomi'' counts. She is [[FriendToAllLivingThings friendly to the sea creatures]], loves her sea home, her CurtainsMatchTheWindow, and [[spoiler: her tail glows]]!
* Let's not forget Marina, [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs Handy Smurf's]] Smurf-sized love interest.
* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' features [[LatinLover Mermando]], a merman who served as [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Mabel]]'s GuyOfTheWeek. Mermen seem to go through puberty early--at twelve he already has bits of stubble and a deep voice which he says changed when he was three--and have seventeen hearts. ("Horrifying but true!")
* ''WesternAnimation/SabrinaTheAnimatedSeries'' - Sabrina, Chloe and Salem cast a spell to spend one hour at the beach and end up getting transformed into mermaids - Salem becomes half cat-half fish. They're unable to stay out of the water for longer than a few minutes without dehydrating and the spell reverses itself within an hour. Provided the three of them are at the island where they arrived that is. Oh and Sabrina's fins are apparently powerful enough to outswim a torpedo.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_ape_hypothesis The Aquatic Ape Theory]] proposes the idea that one section of early hominid returned to the sea.
* P.T. Barnum's museum of curiosities featured a twisted, mummified specimen called a "Fiji Mermaid". It was, of course, a fake, created by sewing the front half of a monkey to the back half of a fish. It was also every bit as f'ugly as that combination sounds.
** RobinJarvis evidently took inspiration from it for the mummified mer-thing in ''The Whitby Child''.
* Manatees, Dugongs and Sea Cows were often mistaken for mermaids, perhaps because the females have breasts and float upright in the water to nurse their young. Taxonomists recognized this by assigning these species the order name ''Sirenia''
** There's a wonderful bit in one of Christopher Columbus's logs about seeing "mermaids" in the Caribbean - he says they're less beautiful than they are painted, because their face resembles that of a man. A seriously ugly man, one assumes.
** Referenced on ''Series/HowIMetYourMother''. Barney theorizes that sailors saw manatees as beautiful women because [[MeatOVision they have not seen real women for so long]]. He adds that this is why men and women can't just be friends: eventually the "manatee" turns into a mermaid.
** There's the [[ButYouScrewOneGoat "other"]] reason they're compared to mermaids that's a prettier lie than the ugly truth as according to ''Manswers,'' their docile behavior and anatomy's similar to a human for both partners to "enjoy."
* Eric Ducharme, the "real-life mer-''man''."
* [[http://www.stuff.co.nz/4858855a11.html Nadya]] [[http://www.itexaminer.com/weta-turns-woman-into-mermaid.aspx Vessey]], an amputee, has been given a really neat [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9jCsbii5rs mermaid's]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YMUWe9V-94 tail]] '''prosthesis''' by Creator/PeterJackson's WETA workshop. That's [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome awesome in more ways]] [[RuleOfCool than]] [[CrowningMomentOfHeartWarming one]].
** ''Popular Science's Future Of'' showed the [[http://www.lunocet.com/ Lunocet mermaid-style swim fin]], designed to increase swimming speed.
* In West African mythology, mermaids (aka Maame Water) are beautiful but evil demonic spirits tasked by Satan to steal people's souls in exchange for riches. However foreign depictions of mermaids such as in Disney's ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' are still popular because, after all, Their Mermaids Are Different.
* An extremely rare human birth defect, in which both legs are fused together from crotch to feet, is known as sirenomelia or "mermaid syndrome". Sadly, people with this condition usually die within a day of birth, due to associated abnormalities of kidneys and bladder; to date, only a handful of sirenomelia patients have survived for long, and only with drastic surgical help.
* The ''Annals of the Four Masters'' (a collection of medieval Irish histories compiled in the early 17th century) casually mention mermaids being caught several times. Most impressive is a mermaid listed as having washed ashore in the year 887:
-->''One hundred and ninety five feet was her length, eighteen feet was the length of her hair, seven feet was the length of the fingers of her hand, seven feet also was the length of her nose; she was whiter than the swan all over.''
* [[SoulSurfer Bethany Hamilton]] at least once compared herself and Alana Blanchard to mermaids. Just watch a [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome tape of her surfing]] and you will see why.
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