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Crocodylus moreletii DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1851

IUCN Red List - Crocodylus moreletii - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaCrocodylidae (Crocodylia, crocodiles)
Common NamesE: Morelet’s Crocodile
G: Beulenkrokodil
S: Cocodrilo de Pantano 
SynonymCrocodilus Moreletii DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1851
Crocodilus mexicanus BOCOURT 1869
Alligator lacordairei PREUDHOMME DE BORRE 1869 (fide GÜNTHER 1885)
Crocodylus americanus var. moreletii — GÜNTHER 1885: 21
Crocodylus moreletii — KING & BURKE 1989
Crocodylus moreletii — NAVARRO SERMENT 2004
Crocodylus moreletii — MATA-SILVA et al. 2015 
DistributionBelize, Guatamala, Mexico (Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Veracruz)

Type locality: "Lac Flores (Yucatan)," Guatemala; restricted by Smith and Taylor (1950: 211), and Smith and Taylor (1950: 318) to "Guatemala, El Peten, Laguna de Peten".  
Reproductionoviparous. Exhibits temperature‐dependent sex determination (TSD) fide Cornejo-Páramo et al. 2020 (and references therein). 
TypesSyntypes: MNHN-RA 7520 (collected by P.M.A. Morelet and figured by Duméril 1852) and a younger specimen in the MHND without known number. 
CommentDuméril (1852:254) stated that Morelet collected two specimens at Lac Flores, that the description of C. moreletii was based on both specimens, an adult specimen stuffed and on exhibit in Paris and a younger specimen sent to the MHND after examination in Paris. Interestingly, Morelet (1871:203ff), mentioned sending only one specimen to Paris, where it was stuffed and put on exhibit. Stuart (1963: 133), listed MNHN 7520 as type, and incorrectly attributed C. moreletii to Duméril and Bocourt 1851. Barbour & Ramsden (1919: 209) incorrectly indicated the type material of C. moreletii was collected in Cuba and shipped to Paris from Central America (after KING & BURKE 1989).

Distribution: Not found in Honduras or further south (KING & BURKE 1989).

Phylogeny: This and other New World crocodiles are closely related to African C. niloticus, indicating a recent (Miocine or Pliocene) cross-Atlantic dispersal (MEREDITH et al. 2011).

Hybridization: Rodriguez (2007) and Wilkie et al. 2024 presented genetic evidence for hybridization between Crocodylus acutus and C. moreletii. 
EtymologyNamed after Pierre Arthur Morelet (1809-1892), French naturalist. 
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  • Barao-Nobrega, Josè Antònio L., Silvia S. Villalobos, Erin Cubitt, Fernando Garcia-Gil and Kathy Slater. 2016. Crocodylus moreletii (Morelet's Crocodile) Diet and feeding behavior. Herpetological Review 47 (2): 291-292 - get paper here
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  • Charruau, Pierre; Carlos Iván Flores-Escalona, Marcos Antonio Morales Garduza, Everardo Barba-Macías 2020. First record of the freshwater limpet Hebetancylus excentricus (Morelet, 1851) as epibiont of Crocodylus moreletii (Duméril and Bibron, 1851) in southern Mexico (Crocodylia: Crocodylidae). Herpetology Notes 13: 627-629 - get paper here
  • Colston, Timothy J.; José António L. Barão-Nóbrega, Ryan Manders, Alice Lett, Jamie Wilmott, Gavin Cameron, Sidony Hunter, Adam Radage, Etienne Littlefair, Robert J. Williams, Antonio Lopez Cen, Kathy Slater 2015. Amphibians and reptiles of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, México, with new records. Check List 11 (5): 1759 - get paper here
  • Cornejo-Páramo, P., Lira-Noriega, A., Ramírez-Suástegui, C. et al. 2020. Sex determination systems in reptiles are related to ambient temperature but not to the level of climatic fluctuation. BMC Evol Biol 20: 103 - get paper here
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  • Flores-Escalona, Carlos Iván; Pierre Charruau, Marco Antonio López-Luna, Claudia Elena Zenteno-Ruiz, Judith Andrea Rangel-Mendoza, Candelario Peralta-Carreta 2021. Population status and habitat preference of Crocodylus moreletii Duméril & Bibron, 1851 (Crocodilia: Crocodylidae) within the limits of two protected natural areas in southeastern Mexico. Herpetology Notes 14: 55-62 - get paper here
  • González-Trujillo, Ricardo; Rodrigo Méndez-Alonzo, Víctor Arroyo-Rodríguez, Ernesto Vega, Alberto González-Romero, and Víctor H. Reynoso 2014. Vegetation Cover and Road Density as Indicators of Habitat Suitability for the Morelet's Crocodile. Journal of Herpetology Jun 2014, Vol. 48, No. 2: 188-194. - get paper here
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  • MCVAY, JOHN D.; DAVID RODRIGUEZ, THOMAS R. RAINWATER, JENNIFER A. DEVER, STEVEN G. PLATT, SCOTT T. MCMURRY, MICHAEL R.J. FORSTNER5, AND LLEWELLYN D. DENSMORE III 2008. Evidence of Multiple Paternity in Morelet’s Crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) in Belize, CA, Inferred From Microsatellite Markers. J. Exp. Zool. 309A: 643–648 - get paper here
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