Mermen are mythical male legendary creatures who are human from the waist up and fish-like from the waist down, whose consorts were their female counterparts, the more commonly known mermaids. In Greek mythology, mermen were often illustrated to have green seaweed-like hair, a beard, and a trident.
The actions and behavior of mermen can vary wildly depending on the source and time period of the stories. They have been said to sink ships by summoning great storms, but also said to be wise teachers, according to earlier mythology. A merman, like a mermaid, attracts humans with singing and tones.
- The most well-known merman was probably Triton, son of Poseidon and Amphitrite. Although Amphitrite gave birth to a merman, neither Poseidon nor Amphitrite were merfolk, although both were able to live under water as easily as on land. Triton was also known as the Trumpeter of the Sea for his usage of a conch shell.
- Other noteworthy mermen were the Babylonian Oannes and Ea and the Sumerian Enki.
- Another notable merman from Greek mythology was Glaucus. He was born a human and lived his early life as a fisherman. One day, while fishing, he saw that the fish he caught would jump from the grass and into the sea. He ate some of the grass, believing it to have magical properties, and felt an overwhelming desire to be in the sea. He jumped in the ocean and refused to go back on land. The sea gods nearby heard his prayers and transformed him into a sea god. Ovid describes the transformation of Glaucus in the Metamorpheses, describing him as a blue-green man with a fishy member where his legs had been.
- Norse mythology, in particular Icelandic folklore has mermen, known as Marbendlar.
- In UFOlogy, the alien race called Nommos are mermen from Sirius who, according to some authors, visited Ancient Egypt.
- Erotica author Megan Hussey has written several romantic e-books pertaining to the merman legend, including "A Good Catch" and "Prince of the Seas," released through Silk's Vault publishing, as well as "Azure Masquerade" and the upcoming story "Passion Storm" through Midnight Showcase.
- In the movie Zoolander, the miners at the bar are all laughing at Zoolander's "mermaid" commercial. He then responds with "Merman!"