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Crocodylus halli MURRAY, RUSSO, ZORILLA & MCMAHAN, 2019

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Higher TaxaCrocodylidae (Crocodylia, crocodiles) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesHall’s New Guinea Crocodile 
SynonymCrocodylus halli MURRAY, RUSSO, ZORILLA & MCMAHAN 2019 
DistributionS Papua New Guinea (drainages south of the Central Highlands)

Type locality: Papua New Guinea, Western Province, Balimo, Aramia River Lagoon, –8.00589 S, 142.938 E  
Reproductionoviparous. Females of C. halli nest in the rainy season (November–April) and lay larger eggs in smaller clutches than C. novaeguineae, which nests near end of the dry season (July– November; Cox, 1985; Hall, 1985; Hall and Johnson, 1987). 
TypesHolotype. USNM 211290, Charles A. Ross, 27 November 1977 [skull with mandibles; sex unknown] (Fig. 7).
Paratypes: LSUMZ 44734, Papua New Guinea, Western Province, Lake Murray District, Agu River, Philip Hall, 14 January 1981 [skull; female]; LSUMZ 44735, Papua New Guinea, Western Province, Lake Murray District, Lake Murray, Philip Hall, 14 January 1980 [skull; sex unknown]; USNM 211298, Papua New Guinea, Western Province, Balimo, Aramia River Lagoon, –8.00589 S, 142.938 E, Charles A. Ross, 27 November 1977 [skull with mandibles; sex unknown]. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Crocodylus halli is readily separated from C. novaeguineae based on a longer frontal bone (versus shorter in C. novaeguineae); a shorter maxilla and nasal (versus longer in C. novaeguineae); long and wide postorbital and squamosal (versus short and narrow in C. novaeguineae); and a wider palatine of pterygoid that extends posteriorly (versus narrow and medially oriented in C. novaeguineae). Additionally, C. halli possesses no more than four non-contiguous post-occipital scutes, versus four to six contiguous post-occipital scutes in C. novaeguineae. 
CommentNeill (1971) and, more recently, Hall (1989) have suggested that Crocodylus novaeguineae on the northern side of the Central Highlands (‘‘NCN’’) and those on the southern side (‘‘SCN’’) are on independent evolutionary trajectories and should be taxonomically recognized. Hall (1989) attempted to affirm the suspicions of Neill and presented morphological and ecological data to do so. Ecologically, C. novaeguineae south of the Central Highlands nest in the wet season, in synchrony with sympatric Crocodylus porosus, whereas north of the Central Highlands, nesting occurs in the dry season. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet recognizes the fieldwork and research of Philip Hall whose contributions provided the initial framework for supporting distinctiveness of this species. 
References
  • Cox, J. 1985. Crocodile nesting ecology in Papua New Guinea. Field Doc. No. 5. FAO proj. PNG/ 74/029. Assistance to the crocodile skin industry. FAO, Rome
  • Hall, P. M. 1985. Embryo growth curves as a method of determining the age of clutches of New Guinea crocodiles (Crocodylus novaeguineae). Journal of Herpetology 19:538– 541
  • Hall, P. M., and D. R. Johnson. 1987. Nesting biology of Crocodylus novaeguineae in Lake Murray District, Papua New Guinea. Herpetologica 43:249–258
  • Hall, P.M. 1989. Variation in geographic isolates of the New Guinea crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae Schmidt) compared with the similar, allopatric, Philippine crocodile (C. mindorensis Schmidt). Copeia 1989 (1): 71-80 - get paper here
  • Murray, Christopher M.; Peter Russo, Alexander Zorrilla, Caleb D. McMahan 2019. Divergent Morphology among Populations of the New Guinea Crocodile, Crocodylus novaeguineae (Schmidt, 1928): Diagnosis of an Independent Lineage and Description of a New Species. Copeia 107 (3): 517-523 - get paper here
  • Neill, W.T. 1971. The last of the ruling reptiles; alligators, crocodiles, and their kin. Columbia Univ. Press, New York 486 pp.
 
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