No, this question is not about creating a subspecies of mermaid that all happen to look and act like a certain Disney princess. Not at all, in fact. You see, mermaids in my setting are capable of extreme dwarfism. How extreme? Well, if you've ever seen a sardine, or perhaps a neon tetra, that should give you a good idea.
This is a natural result of how mermaids came to be; the merging of fish, human, and even cetacean essence. However, knowing this will happen and realistically accounting for it are two different things. My main question is simple; could they survive? To help you see where I'm coming from, here's a pro and con list:
- Little mermaids will need less food than their regular-sized counterparts
- Little mermaids can hide easier than regular mermaids (and potentially evolve to utilize sea anemones for protection, or else have symbiotic relationships with other sea creatures, like gobies sharing burrows with crabs)
- Little mermaids will likely be protected and cared for by regular-sized mermaids belonging to the school they were born into
- Little mermaids can potentially form larger schools than regular mermaids, giving them a numeric advantage
- Given the magic involved here, little mermaids could have enhanced strength (due to having the strength of a regular-sized mermaid packed into their tiny bodies, which don't need to "waste" muscle power to lift or otherwise support a larger body)
- Little mermaids will have a harder time with predators (and have more predators) than regular mermaids
- Little mermaids will be less energy-efficient than their larger counterparts
- The larger mermaids caring for a little mermaid can easily get distracted; little mermaids can easily be lost track off, and they'd likely be problematic to care for, so even with a mermaid's extreme altruism, they may be lost regardless
- In order to form large schools, little mermaids will need to find each other-no mean feat
- Little mermaids will likely rely on parthenogenesis to keep up their population
Considering the above pros and cons, could these little mermaids survive in order to become a mermaid subspecies?
Thanks for your input, I appreciate it!