[[quoteright:330:[[WesternAnimation/{{Jabberjaw}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jabberjaw330_9372.jpg]]]]

One trope that catches animators when portraying fish, cetacean (whale, dolphin and porpoise) and pinniped (walrus, seal) characters in cartoons is to have them walk on their tailfins (or tail flukes if a cetacean or back feet if a pinniped) when on land. This makes even less sense than a cow with a prehensile tail - cow tails are relatively rigid, but prehensile tails are viable, whereas tailfins just aren't meant to support an animal's weight - but it's easier to show a fish walking on its tailfins than on its pelvic fins.

This is a subtrope to FeatherFingers.


[[folder: Anime & Manga ]]

* This is an explicit rule of mermaids in ''OnePiece.'' Around age thirty their tail fin splits in two enabling walking on land (among [[TheMermaidProblem other things]]). They're also capable of moving around on their tailfins however.
* Mermaids in ''Manga/CentaurNoNayami'' are shown to do this in shallow water.


[[folder: Commercials ]]

* Charlie Tuna from the StarKist commercials.


[[folder: Comics ]]

* Subverted with ''ComicBook/FishPolice''. While the characters are in the upright, fins-at-bottom position of most humanoid fish characters, they seem to float more than walk.


[[folder: Film ]]

* The fish in ''WesternAnimation/SharkTale'' sometimes walk on their tailfins, but they stay in the water the whole time.
** This is averted with the shark characters, however.
* Averted with the fish in ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' except during the "Under the Sea" song, where they walk on their own tailfins underwater.
** ''WesternAnimation/HouseOfMouse'' normally averts this with Ariel, who either shows up as a human or a mermaid, but plays this straight with her father King Triton.
** Some DisneyPrincess artwork showing the princesses in a group will for some reason show Ariel as a mermaid, and ''standing on her tail!''
** Melody briefly does this in the sequel as well, more specifically during "For a Moment".
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/{{Madagascar}} 2'': The shark that follows Morty onto the beach, through the jungle and into a volcano doesn't walk, it just lunges forward repeatedly.
* Averted in the fourth ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'' film. Flynn, the seal, doesn't walk, he moves by slithering along.
* The fish character in the Disney live action {{Film/Alice in Wonderland}} by Tim Burton.
* Willie the Operatic Whale in ''Disney/MakeMineMusic'', although it was only during his daydreams.
* Fish from ''Disney/ChickenLittle''.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Mentioned in ''Literature/TheLorax'' when the Humming-Fish are sent away:
-->"They'll walk on their fins and get woefully weary."


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Implied to be done by the "land shark" that showed up in early seasons of ''SaturdayNightLive''.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Averted in ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' - mermaids don't walk while on land, they hover. (You can see some "magic sparkles" around Irenes's tail when she's moving.)
* Also averted in ''[[KingdomRush Kingdom Rush: Frontiers]]''. The [[FishPeople Greenfins, Deviltides, and Redspines]] don't have tails, and [[{{Cthulhumanoid}} Bluegales]] inch forward caterpillar-style.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Kenny and the other fish characters in ''WesternAnimation/KennyTheShark'' walk on their tailfins on land.
* In one of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''' TreehouseOfHorror episodes, the dolphins who took over the earth walked on their tail flukes when on land.
* In the Dr. Blowhole episode of ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar'', the main villain, Dr Blowhole, stands on his tail flukes and moves around on a scooter.
* WesternAnimation/{{Jabberjaw}}, as seen in the page pic.
* Misterjaw in the 90-minute ''WesternAnimation/ThePinkPanther'' show
* Pearl, the whale character from ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants''.
** Rare pelvic fin variant: The fish characters in the same show.
* An old cartoon had a female competitive swimmer win the trophy, we pull back, revealing her to be a mermaid, and she walks away by tip-toeing on her tail fin.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animalympics}}'' has the dolphin Mark Spritz and the orca Ono Nono stand and walk on their flukes.
* The water-fearing mermaid in ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong'' was guilty of this on occasion. Averted with the older mermaid who was Jake's principal, who hid her tail by using a wheelchair.
* Sometimes played straight and sometimes averted in Creator/ChuckJones' adaptation of ''TheWhiteSeal''.
* The fish in ''WesternAnimation/FishHooks'' all stand and walk this way. And yes, their tails look absolutely ''nothing'' like actual fish tails at all!
* Narwhal on ''WesternAnimation/AlmostNakedAnimals''.
* Sally the fish on ''WesternAnimation/ScaredySquirrel'' plays this straight, although she also averts [[FeatherFingers Fin Fingers]].
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' featured an ImagineSpot where Buster Baxter envisions himself as a fish-based supervillain who lives inside a space station shaped like a giant crab, and plans to take over the world by hypnotizing fish so that they do this to "eat land people."
* Played with with Darwin the goldfish from ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball''; Darwin's pelvic fins have turned into actual legs and feet so he can walk.
* [[OurMermaidsAreDifferent Marina]] from ''ZigAndSharko'' does this whenever she's on land.
* Moosel from TheWuzzles.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* This trope occurs in water in a standard training routine in shows with trained dolphins.
* Sirenomelia, also called mermaid syndrome, occurs in human beings when the legs fail to separate in the womb. It is linked to kidney problems.