The Phaya Naga (Thai: พญานาค) are nāga, mythical serpent-like creatures, believed by locals to live in the Mekong river or estuaries. Some have tried to explain sightings as oarfish, elongate fish with red crests; however these are exclusively marine and usually live at great depths. People in both Laos and Thailand attribute the naga fireballs to these creatures.
Lao mythology maintains that the Naga are the protectors of Vientiane, and by extension, the Lao state. The Naga association was most clearly articulated during and immediately after the reign of Anouvong. An important poem from this period San Lup Bo Sun (or San Leupphasun Lao: ສານລຶພສູນ) discusses relations between Laos and Siam in a veiled manner, using the Naga and the Garuda, to represent Laos and Siam, respectively. The Naga is incorporated extensively into Lao iconography, and features prominently in Lao culture throughout the length of the country, not only in Vientiane.
- Ngaosīvat, Mayurī; Pheuiphanh Ngaosyvathn (1998). "III.13 In the Machine Room of a Grand Design". Paths to conflagration : fifty years of diplomacy and warfare in Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, 1778-1828. Studies on Southeast Asia, no. 24. Ithaca, N.Y.: Southeast Asia Program Publications, Cornell University. p. 68. ISBN 0-87727-723-0. OCLC 38909607. Retrieved November 16, 2011. Lay summary (Jan-March, 2001). "The first stanza of the San lup bo sun depicted the situation allegorically"
- Mekong River Commission paper on eels (pdf)
- Dr. Kanoksilpa, a pediatrician at Nong Khai hospital, studied this phenomenon for four years and concludes the most likely explanation to be seasonal accumulations of methane gas. (Panida, 2538 B.E. : 78-79)Thai folk : The knowledge of Thai life-style 
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