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  • Caiman crocodylus (Photo: Escaladix, www.commons.wikimedia.org)
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Common name
polulo (English, Mexico), tinga (Spanish), cocodrilo (English, Mexico), lagarto (Spanish), ocoroche (English, Mexico), punamnah (Palikur, Brazil), yacaré (English, Peru), baba (English, Venezuela), guajipal (English, Nicaragua), common caiman (English, Puerto Rico), tulisio (English, Mexico), spectacled caiman (English), jacaretinga (Portuguese, Brazil), cascarudo (Spanish), babilla (English, Colombia), caiman de Brasil (English, Brazil), babiche (Spanish), caimán de anteojos (Spanish, Venezuela, Spain), caimán sudamericano (Spanish), cachirré (English, Mexico), jacaré-tinga (Portuguese, Brazil), caiman blanco (English, French Guiana), lagarto blanco (English, Peru), caimán (Spanish), yacaré blanco (Spanish)
Synonym
Lacerta crocodilus , (Linnaeus, 1758)
Caiman sclerops , (Schneider, 1801)
Crocodilus sclerops , Schneider 1801 (fide Wwemuth & Mertens 1977)
Alligator sclerops , Dumeril & Bibron 1836: 79
Caiman crocodilus , Conant & Collins 1991: 40
Caiman crocodilus , Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 666
Caiman crocodilus , Gorzula & Senaris 1999
Caiman crocodylus , Lehr 2002: 69
Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis , Medem 1955
Caiman sclerops apaporiensis , Medem 1955
Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis , Nickel & Auliya 2004
Caiman crocodilus chiapasius , (Bocourt 1876)
Alligator (Jacare) chiapasius , Bocourt 1876
Caiman crocodilus fuscus , (Cope 1868)
Perosuchus fuscus , Cope 1868
Perosuchus fuscus , Gray 1869: 171
Caiman crocodilus fuscus , Nickel & Auliya 2004
Similar species
Caiman latirostris, Caiman yacare
Summary
The common caiman (Caiman crocodilus), is currently the most abundant crocodilian species and is the most harvested crocodile in the hide industry. Native to South and Central America, C. crocodilus has been introduced and has established in America, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. It poses a threat to native crocodilians through competition and is believed to be responsible for the introduction of the exotic parasite known as \"caiman tongueworm\" which infects local fish species in Puerto Rico.
Species Description
The common caiman is a relatively small to medium sized crocodilian. Males generally reach 2.0-2.5 m with the largest specimens reported to approaching 3 m. Females are smaller, reaching a mean maximum size of 1.4 m, with larger specimens reaching 1.8 m. The common caiman is also known as the spectacled caiman, due to a bony ridge present between the eyes (infra-orbital bridge) which appears to join the eyes like a pair of spectacles. Juveniles are brown-cream colored with black spots and bands on the body and tail. Adults are dull olive-green to black with black bands basically on the tail. The enlarged fourth tooth of the lower jaw is not visible when the jaws are closed, as it is in all true crocodiles species (Behler, 1979), but in the oldest individuals, the front teeth and the fourth tooth of the lower jaw can perforate the upper jaw and can be visible when the mouth is closed.
Notes
Four or five subspecies of C. crocodilus are recognized: C. c. crocodilus which is prevalent throughout Venezuela and the Amazon from Colombia to Brazil; C. c. chiapasius which inhabits most of Central America from south Mexico to the pacific coast of Colombia; C. c. fuscus which inhabits Atlantic coastal drainages of Colombia to western Venezuela; and C. c. apoporiensis, a narrower snouted form which is thought to only inhabit the upper Apaporis River in Colombia and is believed in need of conservation effort (CSG, 2008; Ross 1998). Some authorities believe that C. yacare is not a full species, but a subspecies (C. c. yacare) that occurs in southern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina. All subspecies of C. crocodilus are in CITES Appendix II, except C. c. apaporiensis that is in Appendix I. \r\n

Please follow this link for its CITES: legal status

Lifecycle Stages
Sexual maturity may be reached from as young as four years to as old as seven years, since less dominant specimens grow slower and sometimes don't reproduce at all. Adult males are, on average, 30 to 40% larger than adult females.
Uses
Caiman crocodilus is a valuable species in the hide and pet trade industry. Their skins are the most popularly harvested product among crocodiles with over half a million traded legally each year. Since they were considered commercially inferior compared to non-ossified alligator and crocodile skins in the early 1900s, common caimans weren't hunted until the 1950s when other crocodilian populations diminished. For this reason, caimans have since remained resilient to overhunting because of harvest regulations and due to the fact that they reproduce at a relatively small size. Most countries within its native range set harvest regulations with licensing and inspection programs. Countries such as Colombia have developed captive breeding ranches to farm their hides (Ross, 1998; CSG, 2005; F. Grana, pers. comm., November 2007). Poaching for meat, and eventually for skins, is widespread throughout the Brazilian Amazonia since 1980s (Da Silveira et al., 1998; Da Silveira & Thorbjarnarson, 1999), but in only one locality is known where a C. crocodilus population is in danger due to subsistence hunting undertaken by indigenous people in the north of Amapa state (R. Da Silveira, pers. comm., January 2011).
Habitat Description
Caiman crocodilus basically occurs in all low wetland habitats in Central and South America except along small streams in the pristine terra firme (never flooded) Amazonian forests. It commonly inhabits flooded forests, swamps, large and small rivers, lakes and canals and can occur in disturbed and polluted water bodies.\r\n

It is known to occur in any of freshwater body, natural or man-made, as long as it is warm, above 28.5ºF, and deep enough to submerge itself completely. They can, on occasion, inhabit brackish waters and leave the water to warm in the sun on shores. In Puerto Rico, caimans have established in rural, suburban, and urban settings. In Manaus city, Central Amazonia, it is common and nesting along small urban polluted streams (R. \r\nDa Silveira, pers. Comm., January 2011). They are highly adaptable to new environments and readily colonize newly formed waters.

Reproduction
Wild C. crocodilus populations reproduce sexually. Courtship and copulation take place in the late rainy season/early dry season. Female build a mound-nest with leaves, branches or grass. The female lays from seven to 41 eggs. The incubation period lasts from 70 to 90 days, and the female can guard and open the nest for the hatchlings to emerge. Hatchlings measure, at birth, from 17 to 25 cm long. Young associate in sibling groups or pods (multiple hatchlings from different nests) and remain close to a female that can take on maternal duties for about a year and a half.
Nutrition
Caiman crocodilus are generalist and opportunistic, feeding upon a great variety of invertebrates and vertebrates. Juveniles consume mostly aquatic invertebrates such as insects, spiders, crustaceans and molluscs. Adults feed on larger prey as fish, and sometimes amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals (Da Silveira & Magnusson, 1999; CSG, 2002; Somma, 2008). In urban habitats of the Manaus city, the diet of the species is composed mainly of Rattus sp. (R. Da Silveira, pers.comm., January 2011).
Pathway

Principal source: Somma, 2008. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS): Caiman crocodilus (Linnaeus, 1758);
Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC) Non-Native Aquatic Species in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Regions: Caiman crocodilus (Linnaeus);
Crocodilian Biology Database, 2002. Caiman crocodilus (LINNAEUS, 1758) hosted by the IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group
Velasco, A. & Ayarzagüena, J. 2010. Spectacled Caiman crocodilus. In S.C. Manolis and C. Stevenson (Eds). Crocodiles. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan (pp. 10-15). Crocodile Specialist Group: Darwin.

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), Felix A. Grana Raffucci, Technical Advisor, Puerto Rico Department of Natural & Environmental Resources & IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review:
Ronis Da Silveira, Departamento de Biologia, Instituto de Ci�ncias Biol�gicas, Universidade Federal do Amazonas & Boris Marioni, Instituto Piaga�u, Coordinator of Caiman Project

Publication date: 2011-01-18

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2017) Species profile: Caiman crocodilus. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1206 on 20-09-2017.

General Impacts
Caiman crocodilus is a generalist and opportunistic predator, but due their relative small size and lack of aggressive behaviour they do not in general represent a danger for humans, pets and farm animals.
Management Info
Physical: Within some of its native range such as in Venezuela, Guyana, and Nicaragua C. crocodilus wild populations are cropped, or harvested. Venezuela which operates the largest management program allows private land owners to harvest up to 15% of adult males over 180 cm each year. The program includes a strict licensing and a centralized inspection agency, but independent surveys have indicated overexploitation in some areas. Such sustainable programs require substantial survey, study, and continued monitoring. In Puerto Rico, reported caimans are captured by government officials and taken to a retention center from which they are either exported or killed (Ross, 1998; Felix Grana, pers.comm., November 2007).
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Caiman crocodilus
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • argentina
  • belize
  • bolivia
  • brazil
  • colombia
  • costa rica
  • ecuador
  • el salvador
  • french guiana
  • guatemala
  • guyana
  • honduras
  • mexico
  • nicaragua
  • panama
  • paraguay
  • peru
  • suriname
  • trinidad and tobago
  • venezuela
Informations on Caiman crocodilus has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Caiman crocodilus in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Caiman crocodilus is a generalist and opportunistic predator, but due their relative small size and lack of aggressive behaviour they do not in general represent a danger for humans, pets and farm animals.
Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
PUERTO RICO
Mechanism
[1] Disease transmission
Outcomes
[1] Environmental Species - Population
  • [1] Plant/animal health
Management information
Physical: Within some of its native range such as in Venezuela, Guyana, and Nicaragua C. crocodilus wild populations are cropped, or harvested. Venezuela which operates the largest management program allows private land owners to harvest up to 15% of adult males over 180 cm each year. The program includes a strict licensing and a centralized inspection agency, but independent surveys have indicated overexploitation in some areas. Such sustainable programs require substantial survey, study, and continued monitoring. In Puerto Rico, reported caimans are captured by government officials and taken to a retention center from which they are either exported or killed (Ross, 1998; Felix Grana, pers.comm., November 2007).
Locations
BRAZIL
COLOMBIA
COSTA RICA
GUYANA
PANAMA
PUERTO RICO
UNITED STATES
VENEZUELA
Management Category
Eradication
Control
Unknown
Bibliography
37 references found for Caiman crocodilus

Managment information
Campos, Z., Magnusson, W.E., Sanaiotti, T. & Coutinho, M. 2008. Reproductive trade-off in Caiman crocodilus crocodilus and Caiman crocodilus yacare: implications for size-related management quotas. Herpetological Journal, 18: 91-96.
da Silveira, R., Gordo, M., Marcon, J. L. & Silva, J. R. 1998. Skins from Wild Spectacled Caimans Confiscated in the Amazonia. Newsletter Crocodile Specialist Group Iucn Ssc, Gainesville, 17(3): 7-8.
da Silveira, R.; Magnusson, W.E. & Campos, Z. 1997. Monitoring the Distribution, Abundance and Breeding Areas of Caiman crocodilus crocodilus and Melanosuchus niger in the Anavilhanas Archipelago, Central Amazonia, Brazil. Journal of Herpetology, 31(4): 514-520.
da Silveira, R., Magnusson, W.E. & Thorbjarnarson, J. 2008. Factors Affecting the Number of Caimans Seen During Spotlight Surveys in the Mamirau� Reserve, Brazilian Amazonia. Copeia, 2008(2): 425-430.
da Silveira, R. & Thorbjarnarson, J. 1999. Conservation Implications of Commercial Hunting of Black and Spectacled Caiman in the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve, Brazil. Biological Conservation, 88: 103-109.
Somma, Louis A., 2008. Caiman crocodilus. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL.
Summary: Available from: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?speciesID=222 [Accessed 19 November 2007]
General information
Ayarzag�ena, J. & Castroviejo, J. 2008. La baba (Caiman crocodilus) en la Estaci�n Biol�gica El Fr�o (Estado Apure). In J. Castroviejo, J. Ayarzag�ena and A. Velasco (Eds). Contribuci�n al Conocimiento del G�nero Caim�n de Suram�rica (pp. 181-294). Publ, Asoc. Amigos de Do�ana 18: Seville, Spain.
Behler, J.L. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Retiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 743 pp.
Brochua, Christopher A., ,�ngel M. Nieves-Rivera, Jorge V�lez-Juarbe, Juan D. Daza-Vaca and Hern�n Santos., 2007. Tertiary crocodylians from Puerto Rico: Evidence for Late Tertiary endemic crocodylians in the West Indies? [Crocodiliens tertiaires de Porto Rico : preuve de l�existence de crocodiliens end�miques dans les Antilles ?Cocodrilos terciarios de Puerto Rico: �prueba de la existencia de cocodrilos end�mico en las Antillas?] Geobios Volume 40, Issue 1, January-February 2007, Pages 51-59
Conant, R., and J.T. Collins. 1991. Reptiles And Amphibians. Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston. 450 Pp.
Crocodile Specialist Group 1996. Crocodylus rhombifer. In: IUCN 2007. 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Summary: Available from: http://www.iucnredlist.org/search/details.php/5670/all [Accessed 10 September 2008]
Crocodilian Biology Database 2002. Caiman crocodilus (LINNAEUS, 1758) hosted by the IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG)
Summary: Available from: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/cnhc/csp_ccro.htm [Accessed 19 November 2007]
da Silveira, R. 2011. Management of Wildlife in the Floodplain: A Critical Look at Threats, Bottlenecks, and the Future in Amazonia. In Miguel A. Pinedo-Vasquez, Mauro Ruffino, Christine J. Padoch and Eduardo S. Brond�zio (Eds). The Amazon V�rzea The Amazon V�rzea The Decade Past and the Decade Ahead. Part 2 (pp. 137-144).
da Silveira, R. & Magnusson, W.E. 1999. Diets of Spectacled and Black Caiman in the Anavilhanas Archipelago, Central Amazonia, Brazil. Journal of Herpetology, Estados Unidos, 33(2): 181-192.
da Silveira, R., Ramalho, E.E.; Magnusson, W.E. & Thorbjarnarson, J. 2010. Depredation by Jaguars on Caimans and Importance of Reptiles in the Diet of Jaguar. Journal of Herpetology, 44(3): 418�424.
Farias, I.P., da Silveira, R., de Thoisy, B., Monjel�, L.A., Thorbjarnarson, J. & Hrbek, T. 2004. Genetic diversity and population structure of Amazonian crocodilians. Animal Conservation 7: 265�272
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission., undated. Checklist of Florida s Amphibians and Reptiles.
Summary: Available from: http://www.fs.fed.us/outdoors/naturewatch/implementation/Wildlife/chcklst-florida%20amphibs-reptiles.pdf [Accessed 10 September 2008]
Hertner, George, 2006. Caiman bite. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. 17(4). WIN 2006. 267-270.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2005. Online Database Caiman crocodilus
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=174370 [Accessed20 November 2007]
Marioni, B., da Silveira, R., Magnusson, W.E. & Thorbjarnarson, J. 2008. Feeding Behaviour of Two Sympatric Caiman Species, Melanosuchus niger and Caiman crocodilus, in the Brazilian Amazon. Journal of Herpetology, 42: 768-772.
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) undated. Taxonomy Browser Caiman crocodilus
Summary: Available from: hhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?mode=Info&id=8499&lvl=3&lin=f&keep=1&srchmode=1&unlock [Accessed 19 November 2007]
Ouboter, P.E. & Nanhoes, L.M.R. 1988. Habitat selection and migration of Caiman crocodilus crocodilus in a swamp and swamp-forest habitat in Northern Suriname. Journal of Herpetology, 2: 283-294.
Reptiles Database, 2010. Caiman crocodilus Linnaeus, 1758
Summary: Available from: http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species.php?genus=Caiman&species=crocodilus [Accessed September 8 2010]
Rivero, J. A. 1998. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Puerto Rico. 2nd Ed. Univ Puerto Rico Editorial. 369-371
Ross, 1998 J.P. Ross, Crocodiles. Status survey and conservation action plan (Second Edition), International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland (1998).
Summary: Available from: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/natsci/herpetology/act-plan/plan1998a.htm#Contents [Accessed 10 September 2008]
Schwartz, A & Henderson, R.W., 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies: Descriptions, distributions and natural history, University of Florida Press, Gainesville (1991).
Smith, Hobart M.& Anthony J. Kohler., 1977. A Survey of Herpetological Introductions in the United States and Canada. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science (1903-), Vol. 80, No. 1/2 (Spring - Summer, 1977), pp. 1-24 Published by: Kansas Academy
Smithsonian National Zoological Park., 2000. Cuban Crocodile Crocodylus rhombifer. Friends of the National Zoo.
Summary: Available from: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Amazonia/Facts/fact-cubancrocodile.cfm [Accessed 10 September 2008]
UNEP-WCMC Species Database., 2008. Caiman crocodilus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Summary: Available from: http://www.unep-wcmc.org/isdb/Taxonomy/tax-species-result.cfm?Genus=Caiman&species=crocodilus&source=animals&tabname=distribution [Accessed 10 September 2008]
Vidthayanon, Chavalit., Country reports Aquatic alien species in Thailand (Part 1): Biodiversity
Summary: Available from: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/008/a0113e/a0113e11.pdf [Accessed 10 September 2008]
Williams, E. H. 1995. Parasites of caimans in Puerto Rico. Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter (IUCN). 14(4):18-19.
Summary: Available from: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/natsci/herpetology/newsletter/news144c.htm [Accessed 19 November 2007]
Ximena, Bernal, E., 2006. Caiman crocodilus (spectacled caiman). Predation/eavesdropper. Herpetological Review. 37(4). DEC 2006. 460-461.
Contact
The following 2 contacts offer information an advice on Caiman crocodilus
Da Silveira,
Ronis
Organization:
Departamento de Biologia, Instituto de Ci�ncias Biol�gicas, Universidade Federal do Amazonas
Address:
R. General Rodrigo Ot�vio No. 3000, 69.077-000, Manaus�AM, Brazil
Phone:
Fax:
Marioni,
Boris
Organization:
Instituto Piaga�
Address:
Rua UZ, Quadra Z, Numero 8, Conjunto Morada do Sol, Aleixo, 69060-000, Manaus/AM, Brazil
Phone:
Fax: