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Unscaled Merfolk

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They actually use this trope as SCUBA gear.

Usually when Our Mermaids Are Different, they still tend to be part fish, or more specifically the scaled kinds. It's less common to see a merfolk that's part shark note or ray, or part cetacean, crustacean, cephalopod, mollusk, etc. But they do show up in fiction, and that's what this trope is about. Octopus-bodied merfolk, in particular, are the most likely to be treated as their own thing and are often called "cecaelia".

Also these merfolk are still just as likely to have the Mermaid Problem, unless they are part aquatic mammal or part shark.

See also Selkies and Wereseals, Shark Man, Cthulhumanoid.

Compare Fish People and Snake People.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Merpeople in A Centaur's Life evolved from aquatic primates and are fully mammalian. Strangely, their tail starts from about the knees down, so they still have thighs.
  • Okayado
  • The mer-folk in the anime adaptation of The Little Mermaid are also dolphin-tailed. The Sea Witch is half devil ray also.
  • Neptina, the mermaid from Marine Boy, is half-dolphin.
  • One Piece is full of this with a lot of the Mer-people and Fishmen (which are a different species than the Mer-people, but can interbreed). In this case, Mer-people are fish from the waist down, while Fishmen take on more fish-like aspects above the waist. There are also different types of Mer-people/Fishman according to what their fish aspects are based on. For example, the Blue Ringed Octopus Merman, Hyouzou, has octopus tentacles in place of legs. He also has the same poison the octopus is known for.
  • Sea Princess Azuri is about an orca "mermaid" engaged to an eel "merman". Other characters included shrimp and catfish.
  • Squid Girl is half-human half-squid, but averts the "human upper half, fishy lower half" part of the trope. Instead, she wears a hat shaped like the top end of a squid and her hairlocks are the tentacles. Oh, and ink comes out of her mouth when she sneezes or pukes.
  • In Tamagotchi! Yume Kira Dream episode 44, Yumemitchi and Kiraitchi use the Yume Kira bags to transform into mermaids and retrieve Boltotchi's gift for Nutotchi, which had been dropped in the water by accident. While in their mermaid forms, Yumemitchi and Kiraitchi's tailfins do not have visible scales.
  • The raiders in the first episode of Those Who Hunt Elves.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew has Mew Lettuce, who has a finless porpoise mermaid form.

    Asian Animation 
  • The mermaids in the Motu Patlu episode "Mermaid" do not appear to have visible scales on their tailfins.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman has fought Orca, a woman who transformed herself into a humanoid killer whale. Though in early appearances, she just wore a bizarre killer-whale biomechanical outfit, the logistics of which made little to no sense even in the DC Universe.
  • Korilia, from the first ElfQuest: Wave Dancers series, was a similarly-designed octopus-mermaid.
  • A story called "Cilia" in a 1974 issue of Vampirella featured an octopus-mermaid of the "tentacles instead of legs" variety.
  • Triton the Inhuman in the Ultimate Marvel universe is more fleshy cephalopod based than his scaly mainstream counterpart.
  • Wonder Woman: Gerta von Gunther did some experiments on a handful of sharks which turned them into mermaid like individuals with human level intelligence. She then kept them in fish tanks like pets which infuriated them and they attempted to get revenge on Gera and the Amazons under the leadership of one of their number named Sharkeeta.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Little Mermaid: Ursula is half octopus, a form of mermaid known as cecaelia. Her sister Morgana is the same, though she is much skinnier with green skin while Ursula is more full figured with purple skin.
    • Some of her concept sketches had her as part Scorpionfish, a somewhat unusual choice for fish halves.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie has seaponies, or hippogriffs, who are part horse, part fish.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Dagon most of the mutant townsfolk are Fish People with cephalopod traits. One woman is presented as a mermaid but has two long tentacles instead of legs.
  • Descendants 2 and Descendants 3 feature Uma, daughter of Ursula from Disney's The Little Mermaid franchise. Uma is nominally human, transforming into a half-octopus creature like her mother at the film's climax. She reappears in this form briefly in the sequel.
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword calls them "The Syren" through one of the Do You Know? promotional adverts for the film. They're likely half-woman and half-octopus, but are obscured by their own tentacles. The Big Bad of the film, Vortigern, strikes a deal with them for power. The film's version of The Lady of the Lake is also implied to be one, albeit wearing concealing clothing.
  • The 2016 Hong Kong comedy, The Mermaid have a mer-octopus which serves as the resident Butt-Monkey and Plucky Comic Relief character.

  • One of the Dark Lord of Derkholm books had Derk, the titular Dark Lord, speculating on creating a mermaid daughter with his wife (long story, but "Dark Lord" is just his day job, and he's more of a mad scientist in his spare time).
  • The merfolk in Council Wars, though the cover of Emerald Sea would have you believe otherwise.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Victor Krum transfigures himself partially into a shark to travel underwater.
    • While their mermaids are vaguely squiddish.
  • The Mer in Helen Dunmore's Ingo series are closer to half seal than anything else.
  • Aquatics in Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future eventually evolve into this.
  • The Merras from Alida Van Gores Mermaid's Song are similarly half-human, half dolphin, as were several mermaids created by L. Sprague DeCamp.
  • Vonda N. McIntyre: Multiple:
    • Her "divers" (which appear in several of her works) are, quite simply, humans genetically engineered for aquatic life.
    • Her historical fantasy novel The Moon and the Sun has the similar (but naturally-occurring) humanlike "sea people."
  • Marguerite de Lubert's 18th century Fairy Tale novella Princess Camion involves the protagonist, Camion, being turned into a half-human, half-whale as per a curse.
  • The mermaids in the River of Dancing Gods series are all-mammal, with their "fish" half most closely resembling a dolphin.
  • The Cray in China Miéville's The Scar are essentially lobster-bodied centaurs. The Grindylow on the other hand are a sort of terrifying angler-fish/newt-people with a natural predilection for space-bending thaumaturgy and transformative artifacts.
  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: Nereus has eight octopus tentacles instead of a tail.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: Princesess on the Broken Sea features combat on the sea, and so, some of these:
    • Sally Slickskin has tentacles for legs and a humanoid upper half.
    • The Isurri shark-men:
      Naked from the waist up, their skins were decorated with horny growths that twitched as they moved. Three larger growths, more obviously fins, adorned their head instead of hair.
  • Market of Monsters: Several species of unnaturals fit this description, like Mirella, the shapeshifting human-dolphin, and a man Nita sees in INHUP headquarters with eight octopus legs, whom she identifies as a ningyo (Japanese mermaid).
  • Xanadu (Storyverse): One of the mermaids has a dolphin tail and fluke instead of the piscine ones the others have. Notably, she's the only one who can't breathe water, although she can hold her breath for upwards of a half hour.
  • The Mermaid Chronicles has selachii, shapeshifters who can look either like regular sharks, or like merfolk with shark tales. Wade is one of the few selachii with the ability to turn all the way into a human.
  • In Bad Mermaids, some mermaids have lobster, shark, or orca tails or octopus tentacles.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Once Upon a Time features Ursula as an ancient sea goddess. When the Evil Queen Regina impersonates her, thinking the goddess is fictional, Ursula brings a statue to life and threatens her life.
    • Season 4 brings in Ursula the villain, as usual for Disney featuring The Little Mermaid franchise characters. Her backstory shows her to be a normal mermaid before becoming a sea witch and becoming half-octopus like the goddess whose name she takes.

  • Madonna's song "Cherish" seems to have half men-half killer whales.
  • The music video for Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" features both standard mermaids and an octopus-merman.
  • In Harry Styles' video for "Music For a Sushi Restaurant," he plays a squid merman. But like traditional merfolk, he's an enchanting singer which leads to him becoming a lounge act...until he loses his voice, that is.

  • The mermaids of Barracora, an unconventional blend of humans and fish with smooth skin.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Dreaming: The Merfolk are composed of several different types. Kithain Merfolk are divided into different Houses based on various vertebrate sea creatures. Scaled fish are only a single house (albeit the largest), while sharks, eels, and rays are another, and air-breathing creatures like whales, reptiles, and dolphins are another, the last of which are most well-known to humans due to their interactions with them. Thallain Merfolk, on the other hand, are composed of the myriad of seagoing invertebrates.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 3rd Edition has darfellans, which are based off of killer whales.
    • Mystara: The kopru are a race of aquatic mind-controllers with Cthulhumanoid faces, slick eel-like bodies, and triple-finned tails that end in nasty ripping hooks. Think mermaid mind flayers.
    • Seas Of Vodari: The Ocean Punk setting has two playable races of this type. Three, if you count the Tiburons, which are humanoid sharks from the waist up and then regular sharks from the waist down, merfolk style. The Cecaelia are the classic "octopus merfolk" species, complete with color-changing skin, high intelligent, and a surprisingly short lifespan. Grindylows, subaquatic Vodari's equivalent of goblins, are humanoid sharks from the waist up and octopus merfolk from the waist down.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Cecaelias are the typical Ursula-style octopus-merfolk.
    • Grindylows are aquatic aberrations that are essentially goblins doing the octopus-merfolk thing. Though not officially "goblinoids", they do share the same general mentality, though they hate and fear squids rather than horses and dogs. For reasons that should be obvious.
  • Planescape had the zoveri, a race of celestials who are octopus-mermaids.
  • RuneQuest: While Piscoi merfolk mostly resemble monstrous Fish People, the Cetoi merfolk are mammalian — Ludoch have the smooth, slick tails of dolphins or whales, with flukes that project sideways, while the Ouri are loosely humanoid tuskless walruses.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has Mermail Abyssdine (sea slug), Mermail Abysshilde (Eel), and maybe Mermail Abyssmander (Salamander).

  • BIONICLE's Barraki are based on creatures such as crabs, sharks, cephalopods, eels, and stingrays.
  • Monster High does this in the Great Scarrier Reef line. The new characters are Posea Reef, the daughter of Poseidon, who has echinoderm-like skin and a lower body of seaweed, Kala Mer'ri, the squidlike daughter of the Kraken, and Peri and Pearl Serpentine, the conjoined daughters of the Hydra, who are half sea-snake. The main cast gets transformed into merpeople, with a Mythology Gag behind them. Toralei, the tiger-like werecat, becomes part lionfish, Draculaura becomes part vampire squid, Clawdeen Wolf becomes part wolffish, and Frankie Stein becomes part electric eel.

    Video Games 
  • Cute Knight Kingdom has the Prince of Eels.
  • Captain Anne Sirena of Endless Frontier is a mermaid with an orca's fin. Worth noting is that only the women of her species are unscaled; the males are Fish People. And much to Haken's embarrassment, the women like scales on their men.
  • Kraken in Final Fantasy III. Unlike his more sea-creature like brethren from Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy IX, this guy is half man, half octopus.
  • The heroes of Kingdom Hearts use this whenever they visit Atlantica. The only exception is in Chain of Memories, where they simply walk around the ocean floor.
  • While the Zora, the resident Fish People of The Legend of Zelda, have been traditionally modeled on bony fish, Breath of the Wild gave them more shark-like appearances, with Prince Sidon in particular heavily resembling a hammerhead. They also have Muzu, who is based on a manta ray, and King Dorephan, who is based on a whale.
  • Prayer of the Faithless: The Proteus enemies in the Northern Woodland Hills, Shout-Out to a Classical Mythology sea god, are men with some sort of long tail, like this old woodcut.
  • Hydro Girl in Ratchet: Deadlocked is a sea creature, though her species name is unconfirmed. She partly looks like a mermaid.
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens: Octo Siren is a Cute Monster Girl with a girl body on top, and tentacles on the bottom.
  • The Team Fortress 2 fandom gives us Tentaspy.
  • Twisted Wonderland: Multiple:
    • Azul (an octopus merman)
    • Jade and Floyd (twin moray eel mermen). The twins' eel forms lean noticeably further towards the fish end of the spectrum (webbed fingers, vertical tail flukes, fins on the back of their forearms and in place of their ears, green colouration and markings extending past the hips to the torso and face) than the background merfolk depicted in the game, who all possess more humanoid anatomy.


    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: Multiple:
    • There's an SCP who appears somewhat half-dolphin.
    • SCP-327, manatee-ish human-ish:
      SCP-327 is a female specimen of a mammalian species resembling members of the order Sirenia, specifically Trichechus manatus (West Indian manatee), measuring approximately 2.8 m in length and 450 kg in weight, and estimated to be between 25 and 30 years of age. The subject bears anomalous bodily features: The flippers bear distinct fingers and a functioning opposable thumb, and the skull and facial features resemble that of a human.
  • Orkazoka, one of the Kaiju Girls of Neo Monster Island, associated with Twisted Kaiju Theater, is apparently based on the killer whale.
  • Mermaid's Tail Galleries has galleries of mermaids based on mollusks & starfish amongst even weirder things (motorcycles? furniture? lawn mowers?)
  • River Sirens from Adventure Is Nigh are elven women with technicolor hair from the waist up, and freshwater octopi below that. It's stated that their horriffic main jaws reside at the center of their tentacle cluster.

    Western Animation