Lycaon was the son of Pelasgus and Meliboea (or Cyllene). He became king of Arcadia and was the father of Callisto. For sacrificing a child on his altar to Zeus he was turned into a wolf (lycos).

Lycaiüs is a by-name of Zeus, but is of uncertain precise meaning since it can be regarded as 'wolf-slaying' (from lycos), 'Lycian', i.e. relating to Lycia, a coastal district in south-west Asia Minor, or 'bright one' (from lyce, 'light'). This by-name could lie behind the name of Lycaon.