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Caiman crocodilus (LINNAEUS, 1758)

IUCN Red List - Caiman crocodilus - Least Concern, LR

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Higher TaxaAlligatoridae, Crocodylia, crocodiles (alligators)
SubspeciesCaiman crocodilus apaporiensis MEDEM 1955
Caiman crocodilus chiapasius (BOCOURT 1876)
Caiman crocodilus crocodilus (LINNAEUS 1758)
Caiman crocodilus fuscus (COPE 1868) 
Common NamesE: Common caiman, Spectacled caiman
G: Brillenkaiman
E: Rio Apaporis Caiman (C. c. apaporiensis)
S: baba (Venezuela)
S: babilla (Colombia)
S: guajipal (Nicaragua)
S: jacare, lagarto blanco (Peru)
S: cocodrilo, ocoroche, cascarudo, cachirre, tulisio, polulo (Mexico)
S: Caimán
Portuguese: Jacaré-do-Pantanal, Jacaretinga, Jacaré Tinga, Tinga 
SynonymLacerta crocodilus LINNAEUS 1758: 200
Caiman sclerops SCHNEIDER 1801 (fide MEDEM 1981)
Crocodilus sclerops SCHNEIDER 1801 (fide WERMUTH & MERTENS 1977)
Crocodilus sclerops — WIED 1824
Alligator sclerops — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1836: 79
Alligator sclerops — BRÜHL 1874
Alligator sclerops — BRÜHL 1881
Lacerta crocodilus — ANDERSSON 1900: 5
Crocodilus americanus — ANDERSSON 1900: 5
Caiman sclerops — DITMARS 1927: 80
Caiman crocodilus — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 40
Caiman crocodilus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 666
Caiman crocodilus — GORZULA & SEÑARIS 1999
Caiman crocodylus — LEHR 2002: 69
Caiman crocodilus — SUNYER & MARTÍNEZ-FONSECA 2023

Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis MEDEM 1955
Caiman sclerops apaporiensis MEDEM 1955
Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis — NICKEL & AULIYA 2004
Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis — ESCOBEDO-GALVÁN et al. 2015
Caiman crocodilus apaporiensis — BALAGUERA-REINA 2019

Caiman crocodilus chiapasius (BOCOURT 1876)
Alligator (Jacare) chiapasius BOCOURT 1876
Caiman crocodilus chiapasius — ESCOBEDO-GALVÁN et al. 2011

Caiman crocodilus fuscus (COPE 1868)
Perosuchus fuscus COPE 1868
Perosuchus fuscus — GRAY 1869: 171
Caiman crocodilus fuscus — MERTENS 1952: 37
Caiman crocodilus fuscus — NICKEL & AULIYA 2004
Caiman crocodilus fuscus — GRANT & LEWiS 2010 
DistributionBrazil (incl. Mato Grosso, Acre, Pará, Piauí), Colombia (incl. Valle del Cauca), Costa Rica,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,
Mexico (Chiapas), Nicaragua, Panama, Peru (Pasco etc.),
Suriname, French Guiana, Guyana,
Tobago, Trinidad,
Venezuela, Bolivia

Cuba (introduced), Isla de Juventud (=Isla dePinos; introduced),
Puerto Rico (introduced), Lesser Antilles (introduced ?),
USA (introduced to Florida, Texas) (Krysko et al. 2011)

Type locality: restricted to Guyana by MERTENS & WERMUTH 1955.

apaporiensis: NW South America (upper Rio Apaporis, between the falls of Jirijirimo and Puerto Yaviya, Colombia); Type locality: upper Rio Apaporis, Commisario Amazonas, Colombia.

chiapasius: Mexico (coastal Chiapas), coastal Guatemala, El Salvador;

fuscus: S Mexico (Oaxaca), south to NW Colombia (incl. San Andrés); Type locality: “Mittel-Amerika”, New Granada (Colombia), Rio Magdelena (fide Malnate 1971)  
Reproductionoviparous. Exhibits temperature‐dependent sex determination (TSD) fide Cornejo-Páramo et al. 2020 (and references therein). 
TypesLectotype: UUZM (= ZMUU) (2); the 60cm s-v length discolored and desiccated syntype in the ZMUU, referred to as the "type specimen" by Lönnberg 1896, and as the "holotipo" by Medem 1981, designated by Hoogmoed and Gruber 1983: 379 (fide King & Burke 1989). Paralectotypes: NRM (NHRM) (2).
Holotype: FMNH 69812; paratypes: FMNH, SMF 43953-55, 48085-86 , MVZ 42842-44, USNM [apaporiensis]
Syntypes: MNHN-RA 6623, 7836-7837 (3 specimens) [chiapasius]
Holotype: ANSP 9720 [fuscus] 
CommentDistribution: Caiman crocodilus may be an occasional vagrant to the Grenada Bank. Not in Colombia (West Choco region) despite a report by F. Castro, pers. comm., 17 May 2013. Not in Oaxaca (Escobedo-Galván et al. 2015).

Subspecies after MEDEM 1983 and KING & BURKE 1989. Caiman crocodilus chiapasius is listed as a synonym of C. c. fuscus by WERMUTH & MERTENS 1977.

Invasive species: Caimans have been introduced to Florida as pets and recently have been identified as Caiman crocodilus fuscus, indicating the Magdalena River basin in Colombia as the most likely area of origin (Joventino Roberto et al. 2021).

Abundance: this is one of the species called “lost” and “rediscovered” by Lindken et al. 2024. 
EtymologyThe name crocodilus is apparently classical Latin for crocodile or lizard and is derived from the Greek word krokodeilos. 
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