Merpeople are mythological creatures that are human/fish-hybrids, the legends of which go back more than three thousand years. They're the basis for the hit television shows H2O: Just Add Water and Mako: Island of Secrets.
All merpeople share the same basic traits:
When mermaids come into contact with water for ten seconds, they grow a long golden-orange-copper tail and a matching top. Their tails are covered in scales and end in a classic dolphin-shaped fluke. They also have a short dorsal fin running along the backs of their tails from their waists to a little more than halfway down their tail. Their underbelly of their tail is white. In H2O: Mermaid Adventures, mermaids have different colored, glittering tails, different with accessories in their hair that match their tops, and silver or gold armbands on both of their arms.
When mermen come into contact with water for ten seconds, they grow a long ocean-blue tail that ends in a dolphin-shaped fluke. They also have a short dorsal fin running along the backs of their tails from their waists to a little more than halfway down their tail. The underbelly of their tails are white.
Merpeople also lose their clothes they're wearing in human form which only reappear when they become human again. Their hair keeps its natural length, but any hair-ties, headbands, hair clips or hairspray disappears, along with their clothes. When they dry, their hair returns to whatever hairdo it was in. Moon Rings accompany the merperson's transformation, i.e, if they have a human form and transform, the Moon Ring is still there and vice versa, indicating that the ring is a magical object.
A merperson's tail is also very strong, this is shown when Emma saves Zane Bennett by smashing in the steel door on Miss Chatham's boat, or when Nixie breaks the frozen surface of the pool in the underwater entrance to the Grotto.
While the live action show only ever shows merpeople holding their breath while underwater, H2O: Mermaid Adventures reveals that merpeople do possess the ability to breath and speak while underwater. Despite this, merpeople are shown to be able to hold their breath for more than fifteen minutes at a time if needed.
The transformation also occurs when merpeople are exposed to snow or ice, but since Southern merpeople never interact with snow, they will also develop Snow Rash and become feverish. The only way to cure them is by applying dried seahorse powder onto their skin. Northern, Western, and Eastern merpeople are immune to Snow Rash. Northern merpeople born and raised in icy waters are presumably resistant to the cold since they swim in colder waters around Canada and the Arctic Circle.
It is still unknown how born mermaids reproduce, since mermen haven't been seen for thousands of years by the mermaids due to the mermen living on land after the great war that happened between them. Given the existence of Nerissa and Zac, both descendants of the merman that built the Merman Chamber, mermaids are capable of having sons, but due to the lack of mermen in any known pods, mermaids must either have some method of avoiding male offspring or simply leaving them for dead or leaving them for adoption by humans.
It's possible the term 'hatchling' is simply a merpeople term for a baby, given that infant merpeople can be raised, or possibly even birthed, by humans; as well as their natural mammalian physiology implicating that mermaids birth their young like whales, sharks and dolphins. If this is true, the genes of merpeople must be very strong for any merperson born to a human to have been born with powers.
The differences between mermaids and mermen suggests that the two creatures may be a bit more distant than the men and women of the human race or are a separate subspecies, but they are close enough to be considered two sides of the same species.
Although considered as the same creature, mermaids and mermen have different behaviors. Mermaids are determined to learn more about their powers and master to control them, instead of gaining more. They even have Mermaid School, which teaches their young how to use their powers and using them wisely. They live in pods and are never alone, and aren't really as solitary as mermen (although Lyla is considered a loner, but isn't that solitary and cooperates with the other two). Mermaids usually travel with or hang around in groups of at least two or three other mermaids.
Mermen, on the other hand, are brought up and raised on land most likely to hide from the mermaids after losing the war to them, which explains why mermaids mentioned that mermen haven't been seen for a while. Originally, both mermaids and mermen lived in groups or pods, but after the great war that happened between mermaids and mermen, mermen no longer lived in pods in the sea. They are described as solitary and territorial. They are also described as power-hungry by the mermaids, and would do anything to obtain power. Zac does not really have this typical mermen behavior, but upon seeing the Trident for the first time, he becomes obsessed with obtaining it. He also believes that he is destined to possess it after he falls into a Moon Spell but then snaps right out of it the moment he touches the Trident for the first time. Unfortunately, after being betrayed by the mermaids, Zac comes to see them as corrupt, trouble-making, selfish, devious, and power hungry. He doubles his efforts to get the Trident and denounces the mermaids as his enemies, vowing to claim vengeance on them for all the trouble they caused him. Later, as the mermaids make many unsuccessful attempts to strip Zac of the Trident, he even goes so far as to try take Mako from the mermaids after he mistakenly believes that they are calling in reinforcements to attack him for the Trident. All of this causes Zac to inadvertently recreate the war between mermaids and mermen and nearly finish the job the mermen of the past began.
Mermaids who fell in love with humans were banished from their pods as it's forbidden for mermaids to fall in love with land people. Natural mermaids can have some difficulty when they obtain legs for the first time, but with a lots of practice, they will overcome this issue. Mermaids are also instinctively terrified of cats. However, they can learn to cope with this fear and conquer it like Rita who loves her own feline, Poseidon. Sirena also shows affection to Rita's beloved pet but her friends, Ondina and Mimmi, though they no longer fear cats, they continue to dislike Poseidon.
On their birthdays, mermaids give gifts rather than receive them. How mermaids raise their hatchlings is a complete mystery. Mimmi was raised by her mother, but at some point she was forced to give her to the Mako Pod until her disappearance. Sirena's only known family member is Aquata, but no other relative as a mother was mentioned, while Nixie, Lyla and Ondina's family were never mentioned. To mermaids, the pod is family and they take it upon themselves to raise young mermaids, even if they do not share any biological relations. Pods will even accept and raise mermaids from other pods like Mimmi, who is a Northern mermaid raised since a young age at the Mako Pod.
According to Ondina, mermaids share the secret that binds them together, and that mermaids who are in the same pod felt like sisters towards one another. This statement was confirmed as Nixie and Lyla stated that Sirena was like a sister to them. This method also had convinced Rikki to give Weilan and Ondina the Jiao Long Bracelet.
- Main article: Moon Pool
The Moon Pool is a special pool that can turn regular people into merpeople when the Full Moon passes over. The two known Moon Pools are located on Mako Island in Australia and the Sea Caves of Ireland. These Moon Pools are known to have turned Cleo Sertori, Emma Gilbert, Rikki Chadwick, Isabella Hartley, Gracie, Louise Chatham, Julia, Charlotte Watsford, and Evie McLaren into mermaids, and broke the Tailless Spell on Zac Blakely.
On special occasions, the Moon Pool reacts to the Full Moon magically and unleashes special effects, such as taking away a merperson's powers, cause changed in their personality, either temporarily or forever, or enhancing a merperson's powers.
- Main article: Pods
There are pods of hundred of mermaids all around the world, while the Mako Pod consisting of over a hundred. On full moon nights, mermaids all around the world honor the moon with a ceremony. According to Ondina, the Northern Pod knows the best spells and potions. In each pod, there's a Mermaid Council, with Veridia as the Head in the Mako Pod. She makes the laws and rules for the Mako Pod to follow. Pods are named after the four cardinal points and their locations.
Some of these are:
- It is forbidden to sing the Enchantment Song.
- It is forbidden to associate with land people.
- It is forbidden to use a Moon Ring to go on land.
- It is forbidden to let land people into the Moon Pool, especially during a Full Moon.
- It is forbidden to fall in love with a land person.
- It is forbidden to travel too close to land.
- It is forbidden to reveal their powers to humans.
Mermaids of the pods use the Full Moon as a source of magic and power. They create Moon Rings out of blue moonstone to help increase their magic and can use them to accomplish many complex feats and spells, as the rings can heal injuries but can also cause destruction.
Young mermaids, also known as hatchlings, in their respective pods must go through training to be worthy of these rings. Mermaid School teaches them to use their powers correctly and to be sensible in the difficult choices made through mermaid life.
Ancient mermaids used to play an ancient game similar to tug-of-war. A mermaid must use whatever power she has to drive a ship to her side. Ancient mermaids may have used real ships long ago but like the siren songs, using real ships was probably forbidden. However, this view is not shared by all mermaids and some may be fascinated by the land and even can fall in love, just like Sirena, Rita and Mimmi did.
Eons ago, a pod/army of mermen carried the Trident in battle and behaved in a destructive manner until mermaids from each of the five oceans defeated them by drawing on the powers of the oceans and locked the trident away in the Trident Cave with one of the kinder mermen's help.
An unnamed merman built the Merman Chamber on Mako Island. He never activated the Chamber and fell in love with a mermaid. They ruled the seas for years.
The Chinese Mermaid was a member of the Eastern Pod and fell in love with a land boy. Another Eastern Pod heard of this and punished the mermaid and the pod by casting a spell to turn the land boy into a Water Dragon.
Mermen are brought up on land in foster families, go to land school and mingle with humans. Mermen do not have Moon Rings. Mermen no longer have pods since the war between mermen and mermaids.
Aurora threatened the Northern Pod and later redirected her threat to the Eastern Pod. Nerissa came to help them and fought alongside them for years. Nerissa went to face Aurora and was never seen or heard from again. During the battle, Aurora turned Nerissa into the Water Dragon and made her attack the Eastern pod, destroying the Eastern pod. The survivors were forced to flee to the land of China, and eventually the pod split. Having lost all sense of herself, Nerissa was sent to destroy the entire Eastern Pod while she was the dragon. After the Eastern Pod was destroyed, she was put in a deep sleep and Nerissa was believed to be dead by her fellow mermaids.
A pod consisting of over a hundred mermaids took refuge on the reef of Mako Island. When Sirena, Lyla and Nixie are charged with guarding the Moon Pool during the Full Moon Ceremony, a boy named Zac Blakely fell into the pool by accident and became a merman. When the pod found out what happened, they blamed the girls for breaking the rule and cast them out while the rest of the pod fled to the South Pacific where they joined another pod. To correct the problem, the girls broke the rule of using a Moon Ring to go on land, and later the one that forbade singing the Enchantment Song. They then encountered Rita Santos, a mermaid of the pod who had long since found new life on land, and asked her to complete their training. In the end, Rita deemed them worthy of having Moon Rings.
With Zac Blakely being a merman, after he returns the Trident to the chamber he becomes a temporary member of the little pod formed by Sirena, Nixie, and Lyla. While Rita doesn't share their adventures, she is considered part of their pod due to her involvement with the girls in guidance and training. Sirena, Mimmi, Ondina, Evie, and Zac form a little pod in Season 2. Erik, being a merman, becomes a temporary member of the little pod formed by Mimmi, Ondina, Evie, and Zac.
The Canadian Mermaid was caught on footage singing the Northern Pod Enchantment Song. Sirena saw it and was enchanted and sang it to David before Mimmi and Ondina sang the Counter-version song which broke the enchantment.
Powers and Abilities
- Main article: Merpeople Powers
It is possible that the place of transformation determines what powers the merperson will receive, i.e, in Mako Island the Moon Pool gave the people the power to control, freeze and boil water, but the Moon Pool in Ireland gave the power to turn water into a jelly-like substance and harden it into a substance similar to crystal or glass.
Natural Merpeople Abilities
- Limited Transformation - When a merperson is completely dry, their tails transform into human legs. Ten seconds after touching water, they will revert back to their true forms. A long orange-copper tail with a matching top for mermaids and a long ocean-blue tail in place of their legs for mermen. All clothing, including tops, accessories and etc. are absorbed by the merperson and vanish during their transformation. Only Moon Rings remain in both forms as they are magical themselves. Humans who have changed into merpeople possess this power since their first transformation. Since natural merpeople do not have a human form, they can cast a spell to give them legs with the Full Moon or Moon Rings.
- Slightly enhanced senses - Mermaids may have slightly enhanced senses suited to life underwater due to living in the sea. To naturally born mermaids, land people smell horrible, even the average hygienic human emits this smell but only mermaids can detect it. However, they can get used to the smell. By smelling Rita's supply of squid ink, Lyla could identify where the species of squid came from. In H2O: Mermaid Adventures, mermaids have the same range of hearing as dolphins. With this sound, they can hear things humans cannot but their human half allows them to hear sounds cetaceans can't.
- Durability - Mermaids are also able to swim at 600 km per hour for long periods of time, something which no human has the endurance to do.
- Speed-Swimming - In water, merpeople also have the additional ability of Speed-Swimming. When a merperson speed-swims, their body is enveloped in bubbles that they use as a jet stream to swim quickly. This can be a great advantage when trying to flee from enemies such as another merperson, or boats and other watercrafts. It has also been referred to as, "torpedoing."
- Aquatic adaptation - Depending on where they are born and raised, merpeople may be resistant to certain elements in that area. Northern merpeople may be resistant to low temperature as they swim in cold, icy waters like the seas around Canada and the Arctic Circle. The Canadian Mermaid wasn't suffering from the cold or hypothermia, even though she was swimming in an area where the temperature was very low and the humans she attacked were dressed in thick clothing to keep warm, further implying the low temperature and Northern merpeople cold resistance.
- Zoolingualism - Some natural-born merpeople have the unique ability to understand and speak the language of sea creatures (for instance, dolphins and whales). It is unknown if the ability can be learned, but it is unlikely. Nixie, Sirena, and Rita are known for demonstrating this ability with dolphins, while Mimmi also speaks dolphin, humpback and blue whale, and northern penguin. In H2O: Mermaid Adventures, the main characters gain the ability to speak with all sea creatures, including cetaceans, cephalopods, fish, marine reptiles, and crustaceans.
- Slightly enhanced agility: Merpeople have the power to jump over the water like dolphins and whales.
- Main article: Merpeople Spells
Merpeople have a natural gift for spell making or using ingredients found in nature for potions. They make potions to perform things their magic powers cannot like heal wounds, transform animals, grant wishes and neutralize anything, including other spells.
Lewis McCartney found a book, "Mermaid Mythology" that held a recipe for a Mermaid's Potion that could give mermaids the power to grant wishes. It may have possessed more potions like the wish-granting spell.
Moon Rings are a huge part of mermaid magic and every mermaid is taught how to use one and all receive a ring after they finish Mermaid School. Moon Rings are a vital part of a mermaid's survival as merpeople use them for healing what potions cannot, enhance the natural world for camouflage, grant them human form, and amplify their inherent magical powers. With their rings, mermaids can cast many spells. Mermaids can also craft other magical items like the Jiao Long Bracelet. This has red stones, implying mermaids have altered the magic of the stones for a specific purpose. Rita mentions that only a mermaid can wear the bracelet.
- Snow Rash - Southern merpeople, such as of the Mako Pod, never interacted with snow. If they do end up in contact with it, it will make them develop Snow Rash, a strange rash caused by the physical contact with snow, and it seems to be very fatal to Southern merpeople. It is accompanied by several negative symptoms and it interferes with their powers and prevents them from using Hydro-Thermokinesis and Pyrokinesis to warm themselves. A merperson who tries to use these powers will only generate cold and lower the temperature. It is not known whether a human-turnerd-merperson develops these effects. Northern merpeople born and raised in icy waters are immune to Snow Rash and may develop some immunity to the cold too. Western and Eastern merpeople are immune to Snow Rash too. The only way to cure this allergy is a Dried Seahorse Powder that Rita contains stored within a silver seahorse. To heal, the dust must be sprinkled on the affected part of the skin, and it will immediately disappear.
- Fish Fever - is a strange, rainbow-colored coral which houses a poison that affects merpeople which causes them to be overexcited and hungry for seafood, but the more the poison seeps into their system, the more ravenous they get. For Emma, her copper-golden-orange scales turned white and scales even appeared on the skin, her hands became webbed, her nails turned black and later into claws, her skin became more monstrous; her neck sprouted a set of gills, her hair started to turn green, her eyes turned yellow, and she made monster-like noises. Fortunately, she was later cured when Lewis sprayed an antidote developed by Laurie on her.
- Ambergris - Is an old substance that at one point in time was used to make beauty products such as ladies perfume. It comes from the intestines of a whale and it can be used to attract mermaids. In "Irresistible", Zane Bennett finds some old ambergris which Nate later tries on. The smell from the ambergris makes him stink but it also makes him literally irresistible to Cleo, Emma and Rikki. Ambergris was also one of the ingredients used in Mimmi's Fifty Moons Potion to try to remove Zac's powers.
- Allergic Reaction - Mermaids seem to have an allergic reaction to a certain substance of aftershave, which cause their powers to blow uncontrollably when they sneeze. Mermaids also had an allergic reaction to a formula that Lewis created to allow them to get wet while in human form, without transforming. The allergic reaction however only manifested as red spots all over their bodies when mermaids were in their human form. Besides this, Lyla, upon being asked by Dr. Blakely of what sort of allergies she has, she calmly responds with: "Only kelp spores in the Atlantic."
- Sickness - Merpeople don't get sick, unlike humans. However, they can be infected if they come across a sick land person and can spread it to other merpeople as well. The symptoms involve oozing heat from out of their bodies and breathe fire whenever they sneeze. Rita Santos invented a remedy for such situations after coming across such occasions multiple times. Mimmi, being inexperienced with such situations, tried to concoct a potion, but it only worked temporarily, after which the sick merpeople will feel cold and eventually breathe ice in their sneezes.
- Water Deprivation - Though magically assuming a human form extends their time on land, merpeople cannot stay on land forever and they can die of water deprivation. It is unknown if a human transformed by a Moon Pool would also have this effect as well.
- Zac Blakely
- Nerissa's family members
- Canadian Mermaid
- Mermaid Council members
- Mermaid School teachers
- Unnamed Northern merman †
- Mermaid Council members
- Mermaid School teachers
- Rita Santos
- Unnamed Southern mermaid †
- Erik's ancestors †
- White Mermaid †
- Kinder merman †
- Unnamed mermaid †
- Unnamed mermaid ancestor †
- Unnamed merman ancestor †
- Cleo Sertori
- Emma Gilbert
- Rikki Chadwick
- Gracie † (temporarily)
- Julia † (temporarily)
- Charlotte Watsford (temporarily)
- Evie McLaren (temporarily)
- Louise Chatham (temporarily)
- Chinese Mermaid †
- Unnamed tenth-level Eastern mermaids (formerly)
- Mermaid Council members
- Weilan's Grandmother
- Mermaid School teachers
Note: † = Deceased
- Natural-born merpeople do not have a human form, although they have the ability to give themselves one. Since that kind of magic isn't possible without a powerful source of moonlight, this can only be done with a Moon Ring or full moonlight itself. They also have difficulty getting used to walking at first but with lots of practice, becomes a habit.
- Water is much more than a mermaid's home. Water can help heal or revive them. However, this only applies to certain illnesses or injuries as it takes more than water to heal a mermaid who is struck by the Moon Ring or the power of the Trident. Mermaids who stay in the sea don't get sick.
- The Moon Ring can be used to help heal a mermaid from certain injuries or traumas.
- Natural-born merpeople can speak the languages of certain sea creatures, including dolphin, northern penguin, blue and humpback whale.
- Merpeople, including natural ones, are said to have a hard time controlling the power of the full moon when they haven't been properly trained. For this reason, they need to learn to concentrate on letting the moon's magic flow through their bodies rather than resist it. After this, they can wander out in the moonlight.
- The dangerous reputation of the Northern Pod may have been inspired by the legends of dangerous, wicked mermaids which are most common in the Northern Hemisphere.
- It is unknown how mermen reproduce, but they may marry human women. This would explain their land form since natural mermaids need a spell to gain human legs.
- Zac may be the only full merman in the twenty-first century as he was born the same way as a mermaid.
- Mermaid knowledge is limited to the creatures of their oceans. Mimmi was unaware that penguins are only native to the Southern Hemisphere, despite the fact that she actually can talk with them.
- Mermaid's natural predators are orcas, whales and giant squids. Rita uses these as examples of why a mermaid would require a certain power if she ever came across them.
- Just like in the legends, natural mermaids have a slight streak of vanity and often comb their hair like the classic depictions of mermaids.
- Natural mermaids tend to be given names with meanings that relate to water in some way, including literal translations to "water", or relating to mythological figures related to it such as gods, goddesses, and spirits.
- Mermaids and mermen, despite being a supernatural species, can have a mortal lifespan or a lengthened one, but they do die.
- Main article: Gallery: Merpeople