The Lion and the Crab

The Lion of Saint Mark (Leone Marcian0), Venice
Images of the winged lion, the Leone Marciano, the symbol of St Mark the Evangelist, Venice's premier patron saint, are to be seen all over the city. 

The Leone Marciano takes two forms: andante and in moleca. In the former the lion is depicted standing, wings unfurled, with a paw resting on an open book. 
The lion of Saint Mark (in moleca), Venice
In the latter the lion is depicted full-faced, paw on book, with his head framed by his wings. Such a portrayal is called in moleca, as the image is thought to resemble a moleca, the Venetian word for a soft-shelled crab, which is caught in the lagoon.