Freshwater monsterof South America.

Etymology: Spanish, "cowhide," from its rough skin.

Variant names: El Bien peinado ("well-groomed one"), Cuero unudo, Hide, Huecu, Lafquen trilque, Manta ("blanket"), TreLQUE-huecuve.

Physical description: Dark color. Rough skin. Usually just a hump or long neck is seen. Sometimes said to have four eyes on the head and numerous eyes on the perimeter of its body.

Behavior: Most active in the evening. Can walk on land. Creates large wakes.

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Distribution: Lago Lacar and Lago Nahuel Huapi, Neuquén Province, Argentina; other lakes in the region, including Chile; also said to be marine.

Possible explanations:

(1) Jorge Luis Borges characterized the animal as a freshwater o clop us .

(2) Karl Shuker has suggested an unknown species of large, freshwater jellyfish, perhaps related to the Moon jelly (Aurelia aurita) found near the coast and inland in warm and tropical waters. It ranges in size from 2 to 16 inches.

(3) An evolved Sea scorpion (Class Eurypterida), which flourished from the Ordovician to the Permian periods, 500—250 million years ago, proposed by Mark Hall. One species, Pterygotus buffaloensis, attained a length of 9 feet and was the largest known arthropod. Sea scorpions were roughly cylindrical and had distinct latitudinal scales.

Sources: Hartley Burr Alexander, Latin American Mythology [1920] (New York: Cooper Square, 1964), p. 328; Maurice Burton, "Muck and Monsters," Illustrated London News 237 (1960): 570; Ulrich Dunkel, Abenteuer mit Seeschlangen (Stuttgart, Germany: Kreuz-Verlag, 1961); Gregorio Alvarez, El tronco de oro: Folklore del Neuquén (Buenos Aires: Editorial "Pehuén," 1968), pp. 120—121; Harold Osborne, South American Mythology (Feltham, England: Paul Hamlyn,

1968), p. 116; Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of Imaginary Beings (New York: E. P. Dutton,

1969), pp. 100-101; Félix Coluccio, Diccionario de creencias y supersticiones (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1983), p. 522; Mark A. Hall, Natural Mysteries, 2d ed. (Minneapolis, Minn.: Mark A. Hall, 1991), pp. 59-64.

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