Merpeople (specially referred to as "Merfolk"; a marine race of mermaids and mermen) are mythological sea creatures with the upper body of a human and the lower body of a scaly fishtail.
Bristol Cove was once home to mermaids. Over a hundred years ago, a Siren enchanted the men of Bristol Cove and a Captain, Charles H. Pownall, heard her Siren Song. She emerged from the sea to greet him and he fell in love with her. The Siren and Charles H. Pownall had a daughter that was born in transition and appeared deformed. He took his daughter to the Haida, people who weren't afraid and had them cure her of her deformity. The Siren left, going back to her home in the sea, believed that her daughter was killed, and never returned. The Captain was so bitter and heartbroken that he and his men sought vengeance on the mermaids and slaughtered most of them in cold blood.
Ryn and Donna were racing in the sea one night when Donna was captured by one of the fishermen and brought aboard the ship. She attacked Chris and began to sing her siren song. The military then arrived in helicopters and took her to their military base, where she was placed in a tank and experimented on. Scientists took a sample of her DNA and placed it into a fully paralyzed rat which caused it to be cured and healed.
Donna escaped the military facility and Ryn and Donna finally returned home to the colony.
Donna, Katrina, and Levi came onshore to Bristol Cove. Donna wanted to bring Ryn back to the colony with them, and Katrina and Levi wanted to kill Ryn. Katrina and Ryn fought and Ryn usurped her position as Alpha leader of the colony. After Donna got shot by Xander, Ryn, Levi, and Katrina took her to Helen's home. Ryn then told Levi and Katrina to leave and never return. Unfortunately, Donna died the next morning from the infection in the wound, and her body was buried in a special cemetery commemorated for merfolk who died in human form in Bristol Cove and Helen's ancestors. Ryn, feeling saddened by Donna's death and guilty for ruining Ben and Maddie's relationship, left Bristol Cove for some time.
Months afterward, Ryn returned and decided to stay in Bristol Cove, but then something happened out in the water driving away all the marine animals and forcing them out. She later investigated some beached whales with Ben and Maddie and found one of them alive. She then went out to explore where the source of the problem was and found a shipwreck. There, she discovered another mermaid, dead. Then, a sound wave came out and caused great pain to Ryn. After discovering that a ship working for the oil company was using sonar, Ben and Maddie help Ryn recover from the sound waves' damage.
Later, Ben, Maddie, and Ryn find another mermaid, who seemingly died while transforming into her human form. Then they found Levi, who barely survived. Unbeknownst to them, Katrina, along with four other merfolk (three mermaids and one merman) returned and found shelter in Helen's house before they, along with Ryn and Levi, were moved to a log cabin out in the woods to avoid possible detection from the people of Bristol Cove.
- The Lure
- Interview With a Mermaid
- On the Road
- Curse of the Starving Glass
- Dead in the Water (merman debut)
- Being Human
- Street Fight
- The Arrival
- The Wolf at the Door
- Natural Order
- Oil and Water
- Primal Instincts
- Distress Call
About the Merpeople
Merfolk usually only kill for survival. According to Helen Hawkins, Merfolk are highly intelligent creatures, more so than humans at least. This is displayed in Ryn's extremely quick grasp of the English language and her memory also appears to be quite superb. Merfolk have some difficulty adjusting to life on land; though given their in-exposure to human culture, this can be expected.
Because Merfolk have some difficulty speaking human languages, they tend not to speak much as they namely commune with high-pitched calls and wails.
- "It was more than a hundred and fifty years ago when a local fishing captain, Charles Pownall, fell in with a mermaid in these very waters, enchanted by her beautiful Siren song."
- "When we were kids, we'd come and you would tell us stories about the mermaids. We were told they were just tall tales, not to believe you. But they weren't made up, were they? They were true."
- "In their natural state in the water, they see you as prey. Their instinct is to kill."
- "He and his shipmates slaughtered those beautiful creatures in cold blood."
- "They're highly intelligent. More so than humans."
- 'There were two of them out there."
- "He was seeing things. Mermaids?"
- "These creatures; they shouldn't be here."
- "They're starving them out, so they can catch more of them."
- "There was one of us who fell in love with a human. She stayed with him on land. Together they had little one."
- "The ones you read, in the book, those creatures were slaughtered out on the water. But others, in human form, died in Bristol Cove."
- "You're one of them."
- "Yes. One-eighth to be exact."
- "I sense she is one of us."
- "There are others. Strong ones."
- "I saw one like me. Dead."
- "There's four them. Plus the other female from before."
- "What are they doing here?"
- "They were forced out."
- "They thought I was dead."
- "They're my people, too."
- "How are we gonna manage them for eight months?"
- "We're not done with those things yet."
- "That was them? In the water?"
- "You know someone actually tried to convince me that Bristol Cove mermaids were real?"
- "I bet there's more than one. They usually travel in packs."
- "She says they don't wanna be here. None of them do."
- "The tank water is becoming insufficient for these creatures. They need the real ocean."
- "We are family again. And say thank you to the humans who protected us, keep us safe."
Merfolk live in groups of colonies in various parts of the sea. These colonies are led by matriarchal leaders, according to Helen. The leader of a colony is known as the Alpha leader.
Katrina is the former Alpha leader of a colony; Ryn later replaced her as Alpha after defeating her in combat.
Ryn reveals that in other parts of the ocean are other colonies who are more territorial and will do whatever it takes to protect their water.
- Ryn (debuts in "Pilot"; current leader)
- Donna (debuts in "Pilot"; deceased)
- Katrina (debuts in "Dead in the Water"; cameo)
- Ryn and Donna's Mother † (mentioned only)
- Eliza (debuts in "The Arrival")
- Viv (debuts in "The Arrival")
- Cami (debuts in "The Arrival")
- Partially Transformed Mermaid ("The Arrival"; deceased)
- Unknown Mermaid ("The Arrival"; deceased)
- Unnamed Daughter of the late Charles Pownall and his Mermaid Lover (1/2 mermaid; deceased)
- Helen Hawkins (1/8 mermaid via great-grandmother)
- Rick Marzdan (unknown merfolk heritage)
- Beth Marzdan (unknown merfolk heritage)
- Helen's Mother (1/4 mermaid via grandmother)
- Helen's Grandmother
- Helen's Great-Grandmother
Extraordinary Abilities and Attributes
Merpeople Physiology: Merfolk have a human-like upper body and the lower body of a scaly fish's tail instead of legs. While mermaids have the upper body of a beautiful female human with flowing long hair that covers their backs, mermen have the upper body of a handsome, muscular human male. Merfolk have blue eyes which comes in varying shades. Both mermaids and mermen have dagger-like teeth and talons used for catching and tearing prey. They also have gill slits on their rib cage that enables them to breathe underwater and syntactically, digits fused together forming webbed hands, which reduce water resistance when they swim.
In addition, they have a vertical tail fluke, similar to a cetacean's, used for propulsion. A barbed stinger at the end of their tail that is very sharp and piercing and is used as a weapon or for self-defense. Some Merfolk such as Levi and Sarge do not appear to have barbed stingers on their tails, suggesting that it is possibly sexually isomorphic that only the females possess them. Both sexes have grey skin that is covered with silvery-grey scales of varying hues, including the human half. Their voice boxes are a hybrid of a larynx and a syrinx at the base of their trachea. Mermen are seen with spikes on their backs
- Scale Manifestation: Their scaly fishtails are silvery gray and has pelvic fins on either side of their tail, which assist them as they move vertically or turn sharply in the water. A large dorsal fin runs down their backs while a much smaller one runs down the backs of their tails
- Speed Swimming: Naturally, they are capable of swimming at great speeds in the water.
- Enhanced Senses: Just like sea lions, wales and dolphins, they can hear sounds far off the ultrasonic frequency, giving them splitting headaches. For example, the strong hypersonic waves emitted by the oil rig has even caused death for some. They have enhanced night vision.
- Fang Retraction and Enhanced Bite: In their true aquatic form, razor-sharp fangs appear in their month, with which they break steel in one bite.
- Zoolingualism: Can commune and understand animals; both on land and sea.
- Longevity & Decelerated Aging: They are capable of living for hundreds of years without aging very fast.
- Human Disguise: After surviving the painful transformation between tail and legs, merpeople are capable of taking their place among the humans.
- Tuar Physiology: As converting their tails into legs, they can revert to their true forms, through just as painful to endure as their bones crack. This is only possible through contact with seawater.
- Water Maneuverability: As well as swimming at high speeds, they are capable of maneuvering freely underwater.
- Extraordinary Physical Strength: Merfolk are noticeably physically much stronger than humans. Ryn was able to overpower a large adult male and threw a pipe with enough force for it to pierce a wall. She was also able to lift an anchor and throw it without difficulty. Also, Katrina was able to punch through the glass window without experiencing any recoiling pain when she attacked Dale.
- Enhanced Regeneration: Merfolk possess greater regenerative capabilities than humans. They heal quickly from non-fatal injuries within a short period.
Siren Song/ Hypnotic Singing: Mermaids possess a strange, alluring quality that many humans are drawn to which is present in both their human and aquatic forms. Warrior mermen are typically seen carrying spears they use as weapons to attack and kill their enemies.
- Dehydration: Merfolk are unable to survive on land for extended periods of time. After prolonged deprivation of water, they will begin to asphyxiate, and their skin will become extremely dry and irritated. After an extensive period of dehydration, their body will begin to shut down. Merfolk are able to spend more time on the surface each time they transform to occupy land.
- Mortality: Since Merfolk are living creatures, they can be killed by conventional means (e.g. blood loss, decapitation, starvation, suffocation, and etc.). In fact, during their transformations into human form, the pain can be so great that some may even die while transforming.
Their diet consists of seafood such as fish, shrimp, clams, crab, and lobsters. In Pilot, a shark's head was seen with bite marks indicting Merfolk eat shark as well. Ryn also killed and ate a rat when she was first on land.
When a mermaid or merman dies, their family takes their body and swims for a long time and then take the body to the deep ocean so no other animal can find it and leave it in a special place, like a funeral. Due to the matriarchal society of the merfolk, it is usually the females who do most of the activities underwater, such as hunting. When it is time for mating, the females are the ones who choose who to mate with.
The males can attract potential mates by stretching and twisting their necks and produce a kind of bio-luminescence. Then the females bite on to their mates' necks and smack them with their tails. Ryn later states that males can even die from mating too much.
- Merfolk seem to not have birth given names, choosing only those already taken by humans.
- The hybrid child of a Merfolk and a human will be born in transition and appear deformed.
- It is unknown if hybrid children of Merfolk and humans have the same powers, abilities, and weaknesses Merfolk do.
- It is currently unknown how long an average mermaid and merman can live, although it has been confirmed by Helen that once a hybrid has completed its transition, it can live for a very long time.
- In "Aftermath," when Ryn went into the water to save Ben from drowning, she did not resort to her natural instinct to kill, unlike when she first transformed into her mermaid form in "Pilot. This could be because of her mutual trust in Ben and Maddie building up over time.
- It is currently unknown how Merfolk reproduce.
- It has been shown that Merfolk can reproduce with humans as the Siren had a daughter with Charles H. Pownall.
- It is currently unknown as to which of Helen's parents was 1/4th mermaid and passed down the mermaid heritage to her.