Lamias are serpent like creatures with the upper part resembling something humanoid, angels are just humanoids with really long wings, 7 and a half meters of wingspan or 25 feet. I imagine serpent like figures are more aerodynamics, but a lamia is also necessarily heavier if the torso is that of a humanoid so I wounder which one would really be the most agile in flight and if maybe lamias could use their tails to produce fast changes in direction with ease. Obviously lamias have wings too, but unsure about the size and shape.

Anatomical details: Lamias have 2 arms and 2 wings just like the angels, excluding the weight of the wings they weight around 260 to 400 kilograms 557 to 880 pounds depending on their length, slightly taller humans are way heavier than slightly shorter humans. Same applies to lamias with the slight longer ones being really heavy. Wings are about 1/6th of their total weight.

  • $\begingroup$ If you're not making any specifications about the wingspan of the lamia, no useful answer can be provided. Additionally, how do your angels fold their wings? Do they just keep them extended forever? That seems like a major vulnerability. How much do both creatures weigh, on average? Are they magically strong? (A human with 7-metre wings wouldn't fly because human musculature is too weak for how heavy the wings would be.) These are all details that you'd have to specify before the central question (which is more agile?) could be reasonably answered. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 10:33
  • $\begingroup$ @jdunlop I've seen gymnasts fly on rings and launch themselves in air with just their chest and shluder muscles, I've seen gymansts hold a position called "maltese" which is basically mimicking a bird planing in air and some people are stong enough do maltese presses with weight on their backs, which mimics a bird's powerflights, I've seen olympians launch the weight of 4 people over their heads, so weakness doesn't seem to be a problem... But yeah probably the average modern human is not strong enough. But I'll make sure to add more details today. $\endgroup$
    – user81643
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ These gymnasts dont have to stabilize two wings several feet wide and away from their body, then fly by essentially jumping on the air for however long it takes to fly. So instead of gymnasts that use their center of gravity to launch themselves or olympians launching 4 people weight over their heads once, imagine stretching your arms between two railings, then using your arms to "jump" a few feet in the air for 5 minutes constantly. You'll have only flown in a straight line and not gained any height, but you would have simulated flight with human muscles, athough the stability is missing. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 13:51

3 Answers 3


Lamia is more agile.

The angels have legs, which do nothing except kick spastically as they fly and that does not help.

The lamia does not have legs but does have a long tail and you do not specify anything else. I envision the tail like the fin of an eel or a Chinese dragon - long and ribbonlike with feathers on each side. Undulating motions of the tail can help fly and a large nimble mass could certainly help with changes of direction and stability in a way that kicky humanoid legs cannot.

eel source


If Magic Isn't Involved, Neither Is More Agile

As listed, your lamia are twice as heavy as the biggest animals to ever fly on Earth, with a smaller wingspan. They couldn't possibly fly, let alone be able to make "fast changes of direction with ease".

Your angels are similarly landbound, since, barring magically powerful muscles, their wings wouldn't be able to support their own weight, and certainly wouldn't be able to get them into the air. A previous question addresses this. It also offers a potential solution - if you drastically reduced the mass of your angels, to maybe half that of a human, your angels could be accomplished gliders, residing atop cliffs and excelling at using updrafts and thermals.

As described, however, what you've got is a snake centaur with vestigial wings that are maintained as some sort of mating display, and a similar humanoid. Neither can fly.


It depends on whether or not this serpent tail has any extra features suited for the air. If its just a plain snake tail vs normal human legs they'll have only slightly different aerial agility.

The snake tail is longer, so it will create a bigger moment arm. Like a big lever to change direction with. On the other hand, in order to fly the upper body of the lamia will need to be heavier to offset the longer tail, which means the tail will be quite light or thin so that the overall weight of the lamia is low enough for flying(which for this whole thought experiment I'm assuming there is supernatural strength, magic, bodies made out of special light materials, or a low gravity world involved).

On the other hand, the Human has two legs, which means two levers. Moving limbs can shift the center of mass of the body, and the two legs could be used to more finely control that shift in balance. Mainly because having a pair of limbs allows room to do a sort of counter balance for stabilizing. There's some cool videos of eagles plucking fish out of the water and as they approach and their legs come down they will sort of lean to one side or the other with them. The wings are obviously far more important, but they can still use their legs to influence their flight.

Things can change a lot if the legs or tail have different shapes or qualities. Feathers, leathery flaps, or even the width of the tail will alter things. Since you said angel, I'm assuming the classical appearance which means no tails or other extras, but the lamia could have far improved flight characteristics with some small changes.

Vertical feathers or spines(as was mentioned) could apply a small bit of forward propulsion with a sort of slithering motion. There's also the option of the tail being very wide like the spread of a cobra's hood. Increased surface area makes for more lift and more efficient flight. Then its like half a wing and with a wide flare on the end or vertical fins it can even be a flight rudder. If the lamia's tail has useful flight characteristics it would definitely be more agile than the angel with only a pair of wings attached to an otherwise fully human body.


You must log in to answer this question.