Since time immemorial, mermaids and sirens were some of the most revered creatures of the sea. To start with, you will note that these are mythical female creatures whose beauty is unmatched. Unlike other sea creatures, these ones could seduce men using their enthralling voices and beautiful bodies. From a glance, a sailor would see as if he is interacting with a beautiful woman who is half-submerged in the sea. However, the rest of the body could either be a bird or a fish, depending on the creature in question.
As far as their habitat is concerned, these creatures are known to live in the oceans and on some islands. Since these creatures used to appear mysteriously, they form part of the fairy tales and folk tales narrated to children. Consequently, these creatures still fascinate people to date. That said, some people still confuse a siren for a mermaid and vice versa. The good news is that we shall outline some of the differences between these two creatures for better understanding.
What is a Siren?
To start with, a siren is a sea creature that belonged to Greek mythology and is half woman, half bird in nature. These creatures are believed to lure sailors with their shrill voices and gorgeous bodies. Once the sailors hear these enchanting songs, they would draw closer and would later get drowned in the sea. This makes these creatures more dangerous and lethal in nature. When it comes to their habitat, they used to live on islands that are surrounded by cliffs.
What is a Mermaid?
Unlike the siren, mermaids are aquatic creatures that are half woman and half fish. To be specific, the upper part resembles the typical body of a woman, and the lower part of this creature resembles the tail of a fish. Just like sirens, mermaids are very common in the folklore of many cultures world over. From Europe to Asia, these creatures are believed to be magical creatures that dwell under the sea with their own customs and cultures.
Although these creatures have different names, the current name ‘mermaid’ originates from old English words, ‘mere’ and ‘maid’, meaning sea maiden. Since these creatures are beautiful in nature, they used to attract and seduce sea sailors with their fascinating and shrill voices. However, they were not as dangerous as sirens as they were quite helpful to mankind. In addition, they were kind and humble in nature.
Main Differences Between a Siren and a Mermaid
Although both creatures are beautiful and live in the sea, they are different in a number of aspects. Here are a number of ways that these creatures differ:
- Presence: As we mentioned above, sirens belonged to Greek mythology, while their counterparts are found in the folklore stories of all cultures.
- Habitat: As far as their habitat is concerned, sirens are depicted to live on islands while mermaids live in the sea. In fact, the mermaid is known to be an aquatic creature. On the other hand, the siren used to stay in the sea but mostly could be spotted on islands.
- Body structure: Besides their presence and habitat, these creatures differ in terms of their body structures. You will realize that sirens are winged creatures that are half-human on the upper part of the body and half-bird on the lower part of the body. Mermaids, on the other hand, are half-human on the upper part of the body and half-fish on the lower part. In fact, the lower part of a mermaid resembles the tail of a fish.
- Depiction: As far as their depiction is concerned, these creatures differ. For instance, sirens are beautiful and evil creatures while their counterparts are beautiful but peaceful. In fact, mermaids usually like to lead their lives away in the seas as there is minimal or no human interference.
- Usage in art: Since sirens are dangerous creatures, they are used in art to portray evil or horror. In this case, they are not ideal for children. On the other hand, mermaids are used to representing modern cultures since they are both loving and beautiful. In this case, they are suitable for kids.
- What they use to lure people: Sirens usually lure people with their voices. To put it into perspective, these creatures usually produce shrill voices, which makes sailors draw closer to them. However, mermaids generally use their beauty to attract people to them. Besides beauty, mermaids use their kindness and humbleness to attract people to them. This makes them friendlier to mankind than sirens.
- Hair: If you check keenly, sirens usually have short hair while their counterparts are known to have long hair.
- Level of destruction: It is no secret that sirens are dangerous to mankind. Like we mentioned above, sirens lure sailors with the intention of drowning them. On the other hand, mermaids are known to be kind and are therefore less destructive. Generally, mermaids are friendly to mankind.
- Population: Since time immemorial, sirens were not as many as mermaids. In fact, there is a Greek poet who claimed that sirens were between 3 and 8 in number. However, their counterparts continued to multiply over time. According to Greek mythology, there were about 50 mermaids, and some had children.
- Gender: As far as gender is concerned, sirens were predominantly female. As a result, they were able to lure male sailors into the sea with their melodious voices. Mermaids, on the other hand, were different as they had their male counterparts.
It is true to say that sirens and mermaids differ in many aspects. Although they are both sea creatures and are beautiful in nature, they are quite different. From their origin to their gender, these creatures have a number of differences. Since people have been confusing these two creatures for ages, this article will help you distinguish these two sea creatures.