Laocoon Serpent

Sea Monster of the Mediterranean Sea.

Physical description: Red crest or mane. Red (bl oodshot) eyes. Fl ickering t ongue. Venomous fangs. Immense coils.

Behavior: Kil l s by const rict ion.

Distribution: Aegean Sea.

Significant sighting: The Trojan priest Lao-coon (responsible for the warning about "Greeks bearing gift s" in sending t he Trojan horse) and his two sons were strangled by sea snakes whil e t hey were sacrificing at t he al t ar of Poseidon on t he seacoast . The snakes were said to have come from Bozca Ada Island, not far from ancient Troy al ong t he coast of ^anakkal e Province, Turkey.

Possible explanation: The harml ess, crest ed Oarfish (Regalecus glesne), the most elongated bony fish in t he worl d, is found in t he Medit er-ranean. Though t his is oft en a deep-sea fish, it is somet imes found dead or dying at t he surface.

Sources: Vergil, Mneid, ii. 199-231; Hermann Kleinknecht, "Laocoon," Zeitschrift

290 lake titicaca seal für klassische Philologie 79 (1944): 66-111; Bernard Heuvelmans, In the Wake ofthe Sea-Serpents (New York: Hill and Wang, 1968), p. 84.

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