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The Merpeople from "The Little Mermaid"

Merpeople are legendary creatures that are half human and half fish. They are featured most heavily in The Little Mermaid and other related media. Female merpeople are referred to as mermaids, while males are referred to as Mermen. Other than The Little Mermaid Franchise, merpeople have made appearances in films and shows such as the Peter Pan films, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Gravity FallsThe Thirteenth Year and Sofia the First.

In The Little Mermaid franchise

In The Little Mermaid and related media, merpeople are shown to live in the sea within various underwater kingdoms; Atlantica is the most prominent, though others are implied to exist in the TV series. Merpeople are shown to coexist with sea life, with whom they are able to communicate. Merpeople generally do not interact with humans, due to the danger, though this changes after the events of the first film. The first film also shows that many unnamed merpeople are held as prisoners of Ursula. They presumably made bargains for her aid, and were unable to uphold their part of the bargain. As a result, they are withered down to polyps. Ursula's death causes them to be restored to their natural forms.

Appearancewise, they are human from the waist up. The lower body consists of a long fish tail, which can be of any color. Interestingly, dialogue from one fish character in the TV series implies that most fish either don't realize or don't know that merpeople have parts of their biology that resemble that of a human, as the character refers to them as "half-fish, half-something else". Mermen generally appear barechested, but females wear a bikini top of some fashion. It is also possible that Merpeople are Herbivores, or at the very least are Vegetarians, as they aren't seen eating Fish, and apparently they don't seem to view eating fish as being ethical.


Merpeople have the ability to metabolize Oxygen from the water, which negate the need to surface to breathe air. However, Merpeople are more than capable of breathing air outside of the water, as evidenced by certain events where Merpeople are on land for prolonged periods of time.

Also, Merpeople are capable of jumping out of water in a similar fashion to Dolphins as well as swimming at such a speed as to rival most vessels during that time. Merpeople also have a degree of Superhuman Strength, which is evidenced by Ariel moving an underwater boulder from the grotto as well as knocking down a door with relative ease. Similarly, they also seem to have a form of Superhuman endurance, able to survive a fall into a whirlpool that is about several hundred feet deep, as evidenced by Ariel in the final fight with Ursula. They are also more than capable of speaking with aquatic life, or at the very least marine life period. Merpeople are also capable of practicing Magic, as evidenced by King Triton's Trident as well as Ariel practicing magic at one point.

Outside of The Little Mermaid franchise

Other merpeople feature in the film, Peter Pan, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Gravity Falls, as well as in the Disney Channel Original Movie, The Thirteenth Year.

Peter Pan

Main article: Mermaids

In Peter Pan, which was made before The Little Mermaid, the mermaids are similar in appearance to their later counterparts. They live in Mermaid Lagoon in Never Land, and are shown to be very admiring of Peter Pan. as a result, they become jealous of Wendy, teasing her and even making an attempt to drown her. However in the spin-off series Jake and the Never Land Pirates, a kind mermaid by the name of Marina helps Jake, Cubby, Izzy, and Skully in some episodes, also Stormy is seen in some of the episodes Marina is in.

The 13th Year

In The Thirteenth Year, two merpeople are shown: the protagonist, Cody, and his biological mother. Merpeople in this film are somewhat similar in appearance to merpeople from other media. However, there are several distinctions. In this film, merpeople are able to pass for human until they turn 13, when the fish physiology surfaces. The transformation is shown to be triggered by exposure to water. In addition to the fish-like tail, they also have scales on their palms, and small fins that run along their forearms. Other than the abilities listed above in the TLM franchise, Merpeople also seem to possess other abilities, such as the ability to generate electricity, to the point that they can fire it similarly to a defibrillator, and the ability to stick to surfaces.

Gravity Falls

Merpeople were briefly mentioned in "Dipper vs. Manliness" by the Manotaurs, and one named "Mermando" appears in "The Deep End". They are stated to live in the water. What may be a skeleton of one can be seen in Mystery Shack gift shop, although it resembles the famous hoax Fiji Mermaid. In the opening credits, a picture of a merperson like the one in the Mystery Shack can be seen at the end of the credits. They also appear in the episode "The Deep End" as Mabel befriends a beautiful one named Mermando. He had been swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, but was caught by a net from a fisherman. He later is seen at the Gravity Falls Pool. When Mabel Pines first saw him, she went all silly, wanting him. Mabel soon realizes that he is a merman, and thus tries to help him, of which she succeeds. Mermando is last seen swimming back to his home. Merpeople have about 17 hearts.

Sofia the First

In the special Sofia the First: The Floating Palce, Sofia and her family visit Merroway Cove for a vacation and discovers an undersea kingdom homed to merpeople and makes friends with a mermaid princess named Oona. In this one hour special Ariel from the Little Mermaid makes a special guest appearance.


  • In the Kingdom Hearts franchise, King Triton initially deduced that Sora was from another kingdom in the ocean due to his tail, implying that merpeople's tailfins and tails act in a similar manner to human fingerprints (being unique).
  • Shortly after King Triton defeated the Sorceress in the episode Red, he mentioned to the Sorceress "See you next century," implying that Merpeople's lifespans are over one century (100 years), at the very least.
  • In real life, the classification of Merpeople is debatable due to possessing fish-like traits. However, the presence of mammary glands implies that Merpeople are mammals.
  • A common claim was that merpeople were actually manatees or dugongs that were surfacing and had seaweed on top, causing them to be mistaken for them. The first part of the Disney Comics story Serpent-Teen alludes to this claim by having a Manatee named Eddie pose as Ariel, implying that Merpeople have frequently used manatees as decoys to ensure they weren't discovered.


The Little Mermaid
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Films: The Little Mermaid | The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea | The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
Television: TV Series (Episode List) | House of Mouse | Once Upon a Time
Music: Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack | Musical
Video Games: NES game | Sega Genesis Game | Ariel's Story Studio | Kingdom Hearts | Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories | Kingdom Hearts II | The Little Mermaid 2: Pinball Frenzy
Books: Official Comic Adaptation | Marvel Comics| Disney Comics

Attractions: Voyage of the Little Mermaid | Mickey's PhilharMagic | Mermaid Lagoon (Tokyo DisneySea) | The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure | King Triton's Carousel of the Sea | Fantasmic! | Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom | World of Color | Disney Dreams! | Celebrate the Magic

Original: Ariel | Flounder | Sebastian | Scuttle | Prince Eric | King Triton | Ursula/Vanessa | Flotsam & Jetsam | Attina | Alana | Adella | Aquata | Arista | Andrina | Max | Grimsby | Carlotta | Chef Louis | Ursula's Garden | Glut | The Seahorse Herald | Harold | Merpeople | Washerwomen
Sequel Characters: Melody | Tip & Dash | Morgana | Cloak & Dagger | Undertow | Flounder's guppies | Baby Penguin
Prequel Characters: Queen Athena | Marina Del Rey | Benjamin | Shelbow | Ink Spot | Cheeks | Ray-Ray | Stevie | Electric Eels
TV Series Characters: Urchin | Gabriella | Ollie | Dudley | Pearl | The Evil Manta | Little Evil | Dr. Vile | Daniel | Moray | Simon | Lobster Mobster and Da Shrimp | The Sorceress | Glowfish | Ebb and Flo | Emperor Sharga | Octopid | Brain Sponge | Zeus | Spot the Killer Whale | Crab Scouts | Hans Christian Andersen | Stormy the Giant Seahorse

Objects: Prince Eric's statue | Trident | Ursula's Cauldron | Ursula's Necklace | Melody's locket | Queen Athena's music box | Dinglehopper

Locations: Atlantica | Ariel's Secret Grotto | Ursula's Lair | Prince Eric's Castle | The Wedding Ship | Morgana's Ice Cave

Film Songs: Fathoms Below | Daughters of King Triton | Part of Your World/(Reprise)/(Finale) | Under the Sea | Poor Unfortunate Souls | Les Poissons | Kiss the Girl | Vanessa's Song | Down to the Sea | For A Moment | Tip and Dash (song) | Here On The Land and Sea | Just One Mistake | I Remember
T.V. Series Songs: Just a Little Love | You Got to be You | The Edge of the Edge of the Sea | The Lobster Mobster's Mob | The Beddy Bye Blues | Sing a New Song | In Harmony | This is the Life | You Know I Know | Never Give Up | You Wouldn't Want to Mess With Me | The Sound of Laughter | Daring to Dance | Just Give Me a Chance | Just Like Me | Evil Lullaby
Musical Songs: She's In Love | Human Stuff | Positoovity | I Want the Good Times Back | Her Voice | The World Above | The Contest | If Only (Quartet) | Beyond My Wildest Dreams | Sweet Child | One Step Closer

Other: Disney Sing Along Songs: Under the Sea | The Disney Afternoon

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