2. A son of Acheron by Gorgyra (Apollod. 1.5.3
) or by Orphne. (Ov. Met. 5.540
.) Servius (Serv. ad Aen. 4.462
) calls him a son of Styx. When Persephone was in the lower world, and Pluto gave her permission to return to the upper, provided she had not eaten anything, Ascalaphus declared that she had eaten part of a pomegranate. Demeter (according to Apollodorus, l.c.,
2.5.12) punished him by burying him under a huge stone, and when subsequently this stone was removed by Heracles, she changed Ascalaphus into an owl.
According to Ovid, Persephone herself changed him into an owl by sprinkling him with water of the river Phlegethon.
There is an evident resemblance between the mythus of Ascalabus and that of Ascalaphus.
The latter seems to be only a modification or continuation of the former, and the confusion may have arisen from the resemblance between the words ἀσκάλαξος
, a lizard, and ἀσκάλαφος
, an owl.