Merpeople are human/fish-hybrids, the legends of which go back more than three thousand years. They're magical creatures of the seas, and the basis for the hit television shows H2O: Just Add Water and Mako: Island of Secrets. According to Sirena, the natural "real" merpeople are born in the sea.
All merpeople share the same basic traits.
When mermaids come into contact with water for ten seconds, they grow a long golden-orange 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 the tail.
When mermen come into contact with water for ten seconds, they grow a long ocean-blue tail that ends in a pointy-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 the tail.
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 broke the iced surface of the pool in the Grotto.
Merpeople also lose their clothes they're wearing in human form which only reappear when they become human again. Their hair keeps it's natural color and length, but any hair-ties, headbands, hairclips or hairspray disappears, along with their clothes. When they dry, their hair returns to whatever hairdo it was in. When they transform their hair starts out untangled. 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.
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.
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.
Although considered as the same creature, mermaids and mermen have different behaviors. Originally, both mermaids and mermen live in groups or pods, but after the great war that happened between mermaids and mermen, mermen no longer live in pods under the sea, instead they were brought up to and raised on land, probably to hide from the mermaids after losing the war to them, which explains why the mermaids mentioned that mermen haven't been seen for a while, as they have been hiding on land. They are described as power-hungry by the mermaids, and would do anything to obtain power. Zac doesn't really have those typical mermen behavior, not until after he was betrayed by the mermaids. Right then he started to do anything that could get him the trident, so that he can rule Mako and get rid of the mermaids.
Mermaids, on the other hand, are determined to learn more about their powers and to master the control of it, instead of gaining more. They even have this Mermaid School that teaches their young how to use their powers and using it wisely to protect and guard the sea and Mako and the Moon Pool. They live in pods and were never alone, and aren't really as solitary as mermen (though Lyla was considered as a loner but isn't that solitary and would cooperate with the other two). Even if mermaids weren't in a pod, they would always bring a friend and would travel in a group of two or three, and most of them like to be friends of two or three, even if they were in a pod, like Nixie and Sirena (before they run into Lyla), Aquata and Maya, and Mimmi and Ondina.
Both mermaids and mermen live on a diet of seafood. They will eat any kind of seafood, such as crabs, lobsters, prawns, tunas, and salmon. In fact born merpeople won't even want to eat land foods like pancakes and they don't even like them anyways, instead they will find crustaceans and fish more appealing to taste. Even human turned merpeople will grow an appetite for seafoods, and will change their diet and eating habits.
Born mermaids, when first came to land, will be very naïve about the human world and human terms and stuffs like phones and technology and would sometimes stand out in the crowd and draw attention to themselves. When they first get legs they would have difficulty on walking but gets used to it after some time.
On their birthdays, mermaids give gifts rather than receive them.
- Main article: Pods
As revealed in Mako: Island of Secrets, there are Pods of natural born mermaids all around the world. The Mako Island pod consists of over a hundred. When the moon is full, the natural mermaids all around the world honor the moon with a ceremony. Natural born mermaids, unlike transformed humans, live on a seafood diet and wear seashells and such as jewelry. The mermaid council has made laws with Veridia as head of the council in Mako Island's Pod.
Some of these are:
- It is forbidden to sing the Enchantment Song.
- It is forbidden to associate with land people and it is especially not allowed to use a Moon Ring to go on land.
- It is forbidden to let land people come onto Mako Island during a full moon, and it is even more forbidden to let them into the moon pool.
- 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 your powers to humans.
Sirena, Lyla and Nixie broke the rule of not letting land people on to the Island and were later blamed when the pod found out that Zac had also fallen into the Moon Pool whilst they were supposed to be guarding it. They were then cast out of the pod. Later in Season 1, they broke the rules of singing the Enchantment Song and using a Moon Ring to go on land.
Mermaids of the pod use the full moon as a source of magic and power. They created moon rings out of blue moonstones and use them to accomplish many feats, as the rings can heal or cause destruction.
Young mermaids in the pod must go through training to be worthy of these rings. This "Mermaid School" teaches them to use their powers correctly and to be sensible in the difficult choices made through mermaid life.
Mermen descend from a long line of mermen and abandoned by their parents. They are brought up on land in foster families going to land school and mingle with humans.
Rita Santos is a teacher on land, at Suncoast High, but possibly could have been a mermaid teacher when she lived in the pod. She helped Lyla, Sirena and Nixie complete their training and gave them their own Moon Rings.
It is still a mystery how the H2O: Just Add Water characters didn't happen to come across the pod during their period of time living on the Gold Coast and going to the Moon Pool regularly, let alone notice Lyla, Sirena, Nixie who live in the Moon Pool. The only theory fans can think of is that the events of H2O and Mako Mermaids happened in different time periods. It is possible that the H2O characters left the Gold Coast to lead separate lives and become adults before the Pod came to live at Mako. The moon pool somehow changed and was made into a home by the mermaids, becoming a, "sacred" place.
- Main article: Merpeople Powers
Natural Merpeople Abilities
All merpeople have several common powers and several water-related abilities.
- Transformation - All merpeople with a human form are able to transform, but they have no influence over the ability. The transformation occurs approximately 10 seconds after they come in contact with water. If all water is removed (dried) from the merperson's body before the amount of time is up then the merperson will remain in human form. Otherwise, the merperson transforms. They also transform when in contact with snow or ice, as it is still water.
- Underwater Breathing - Merpeople can stay submerged for long periods of time but they still need to breathe air. Merpeople can hold their breath for at least 12 hours before needing to resurface but with more practice merpeople can stay under for much longer. When mermaids remain breathless, they do not die, unlike humans. They "sleep" underwater, and just awaken when they breathe air again. They can only hold their breath in mer-form. When merpeople are infected with Fish Fever, they undergo changes and develop gills. It is possible that during this time, they can actually breathe underwater.
- Durability - Merpeople can swim for days without fatigue.
- 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 mermaid/merman or boats and other water crafts. It has also been referred to as, "torpedoing."
- Zoolingualism - Natural-born merpeople have the unique ability to comprehend 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 has done it with whales as well as dolphins.
- Volume Reduction - Is the ability that all merpeople are shown to have. With this power, merpeople can shrink things.
- Weather Manipulation - Merpeople can control and manipulate the weather.
- Invisibility - Invisibility is a power that all natural-born merpeople are shown to have. With this power they can turn invisible, but it is temporary.. The user is capable of staying invisible in either form, in or out of water.
- Siren Singing - Siren Singing is a musical/voice-related magical ability that allows the user to put a person (usually a man) into an irresistible, hypnotic trance in which he will follow the mermaid around or obey the mermaid's whim and desires without question. In the Mako Island's Pod, is forbidden the use of this skill. Is a natural skill, and can not be learned. Humans that have been transformed in mermaids, can demonstrate this skill when affected by the Full Moon.
It is possible that the place where the merperson's transformation happened affects the powers over water, e.g. the Moon Pool at Mako Island gave the people the power to control, freeze and boil water, but the pool in the Sea Caves of Ireland where Bella changed gave her the power to turn water into a jelly-like substance and to turn water into a substance similar to crystal or glass.
- Main article: Moon Pool
The Moon Pool is a pool of water connected to the ocean that can turn regular humans into merpeople when the full moon passes over the cone of the dormant volcano. It is located on Mako Island off of The Gold Coast in Australia. The second Moon Pool is in a Sea Cave in Ireland. The Moon Pools are known to have turned Cleo Sertori, Emma Gilbert, Rikki Chadwick, Isabella Hartley, Gracie Watsford, Louise Chatham, Julia Dove, Eva, Charlotte Watsford, and Evie McLaren into mermaids, and broke a spell on Zac Blakely that made him tailless.
On special occasion, the Moon Pool will react to the Full Moon magically and unleash special effects, such as taking away a merperson's powers temporarily or forever, or enhancing a merperson's powers.
- Snow Rash - Natural merpeople such as Lyla, Nixie, Sirena and Ondina that were born in Southern oceans, have never interacted with snow. If they do end up going into contact with it, it will make them develop Snow Rash, a moss-green rash caused by contact with snow. It is accompanied by itch, fever, and malaise and doctors such as Dr. Blakely couldn't realize what it was. It is not known whether a human transformed into a merperson by a Moon Pool also develops the disease. It was first shown in Mako Mermaids. It seems to be very fatal to Southern Mermaids. It is also likely that merpeople born and raised in icy waters develop some immunity to the cold and also on Snow Rash. Rita said the girls were "Southern Mermaids" and this implies that there are also "Northern Mermaids". 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 - A strange, rainbow-colored coral houses a poison that affects both fishes and merpeople. It causes them to be overexcited, but the more the poison seeps into their system, the more ravenous they get. The poison also causes a tremendous mutation in a mermaid's physical form. 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. She also developed a desire to be wet. Emma was later cured when Lewis sprayed an antidote on her skin, which was developed by Laurie. When a fish affected by coral's poison, its scales will turn white, and they will develop a out of control hunger. Laurie said that if Cleo's fish was not cured in time, he would have died. The same goes for the merpeople.
- 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 potion of fifty moons to remove Zac's powers.
- Mermaids seem to have an allergic reaction to a certain substance of aftershave, which cause their powers to blow uncontrollably when they sneeze.
- Sickness - Merpeople don't get sick, unlike humans. However, they can be infected if come across a sick land dweller 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.
- Main article: Merpeople Spells
Merpeople have a natural gift for spell making using ingredients found in nature.
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.
- Natural-born merpeople do not have a human form, although they have the ability to give themselves one. Although that kind of magic isn't possible without a powerful source of moonlight. So this can only be done with a Moon Ring or full moonlight itself. When natural-born merpeople first grow legs, they are naked. At first, they will have difficulty of getting used to walking.
- Merpeople, even humans that were transformed into one, feel much better in the water than on the land.
- It is possible that the amount of time it takes for the transformation to take full-effect can vary depending on the amount of water the merperson came into contact with. For example, if a bucket of water was dumped on a merperson's head or they dove into the ocean, they'd transform immediately. If a merperson came into contact with a normal amount of water (such as spilling a glass of water on oneself), it would take the normal 10 seconds approx.
- Merpeople can die from water deprivation. As mentioned by Sirena, merpeople have died from, "drying out". It is unknown if a human transformed by a Moon Pool would also have this effect as well.
- Merpeople are mortals, like humans.
- All natural born merpeople have a strong instinct to eat seafood. Humans who were transformed by the Moon Pool do not experience this, apart from when they are under the Moon Spell (which makes them behave like they are real merpeople).
- It was revealed in Dolphin Tale that natural-born merpeople can speak the languages of sea creatures, as Sirena and Nixie can speak dolphin and Mimmi can speak humpback whale.
- It is possible that only natural merpeople can make themselves invisible.
- Mermen, or at least Erik, have something of a sixth sense to find pearls in the ocean.
- Merpeople, including born 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.
- Cleo Sertori
- Emma Gilbert
- Rikki Chadwick
- Isabella Hartley
- Gracie Watsford † (temporarily)
- Louise Chatham
- Julia Dove †
- Charlotte Watsford (temporarily)
- Evie McLaren
- Eva †
- Zac Blakely
- Rita Santos
Note: † = Deceased.