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Osteolaemus tetraspis COPE, 1861

IUCN Red List - Osteolaemus tetraspis - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaCrocodylidae (Crocodylia, crocodiles)
Common NamesE: Dwarf crocodile, West African dwarf crocodile, Broad-nosed crocodile
G: Stumpfkrokodil 
SynonymOsteolaemus tetraspis COPE 1861: 550
Crocodilus frontatus MURRAY 1862: 222
Crocodilus frontatus — MURRAY 1862: 213
Crocodilus frontatus — BOCAGE 1866: 41
Halcrosia afzelii LILLJEBORG 1867: 715
Halcrosia nigra GRAY 1867
Halcrosia nigra — GRAY 1870: 428
Osteolaemus tetraspis – BOULENGER 1889
Osteolaemus tetraspis tetraspis WERMUTH & MERTENS 1961
Osteolaemus tetraspis — SPAWLS et al. 2001
Osteolaemus tetraspis — TRAPE, CHIRIO & TRAPE 2012
Osteolaemus tetraspis — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 333 
DistributionAngola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon,
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea (Conakry), Guinea-Bissau, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda, Zaire

tetraspis: greater Ogooué Basin, incl. Gabon, portions of Cameroon and SW Congo.

Type locality: Ogowe River, Gabon  
TypesHolotype: unlocated (KING& BURKE 1989: 14) 
CommentBrochu (2007) recognized O. osborni as a distinct taxonomic unit based on variations in four cranial characters that appear to be fixed between western Africa and the Congo Basin.

Conservation: Crocodylus robustus Grandidier & Vaillant, 1872 is more closely related to the living African dwarf crocodiles (Osteolaemus) than to living Crocodylus. C. robustus has been renamed to Voay robustus by Brochu et al. 2007. Voay persisted into the Holocene and may have been extant when humans first settled Madagascar 2000 years ago, when it may have been a casualty of a megafaunal extinction event on the island.

Distribution: need to untangle the distribution of tetraspis from osborni, which is still included in range. For a map with localities in Equatorial Guinea see SÁNCHEZ-VIALAS et al. 2022.

Type species: Osteolaemus tetraspis COPE 1861: 550 is the type species of the genus Osteolaemus COPE 1861: 549. 
EtymologyNamed after Greek tetra = four and aspis = shield, referring to the four large horny plates arranged in a square on the nape of the neck, known as 'nuchal shields'.

The genus was named after Greek osteon = bone and laimos = throat; a reference to the bony shields on the throat and belly. 
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