Crocodylus rhombifer 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Crocodylia Crocodylidae

Scientific Name: Crocodylus rhombifer Cuvier, 1807
Common Name(s):
English Cuban Crocodile
French Crocodile de Cuba
Spanish Cocodrilo de Cuba
Taxonomic Notes: There is strong evidence, based on morphology and genetic analyses, that widespread hybridization is taking place with Crocodylus acutus in the Zapata Swamp (Targarona et al. pers. comm.).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2cde ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Targarona, R.R., Soberón, R.R., Cotayo, L. & Tabet, M.A. and Thorbjarnarson, J. (IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group)
Reviewer(s): Collen, B. and Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Crocodylus rhombifer has been assessed as Critically Endangered. A decline greater than 80% in the population over the last three generations has been inferred due to the decline in habitat quality, exploitation, and effects of hybridization. Illicit hunting of crocodiles for meat has rapidly increased causing the resultant population decline. It is also highly likely that the percentage of hybrids in the population has increased. Therefore the risk of extinction has increased since the previous Red List assessment. There are conservation measures in place, however, further actions are required to reduce the illegal hunting that occurs within this species' range.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is no longer found in most of its historic range and is currently restricted to two relatively small areas in Cuba. Its principal distribution is in the Zapata Swamp, where it occupies an area of 360 km². In the Lanier Swamp on the Isle of Youth its present distribution is 35 km².
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The only population estimate available is from a study by Ramos et al. (1996). Based on this study the population of crocodiles in the Zapata Swamp is 3,000-5,000 individuals. The number in the Lanier Swamp has not been evaluated but is known to be much smaller than that in the Zapata Swamp. The total population size is likely to be 4,000 (Targarona et al. pers. comm.).
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:3000-5000,4000

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Cuban Crocodile is a medium-sized crocodile found in freshwater marsh and inundated shrublands where it preys to a large degree on small mammals, particularly the native hutias (Capromys spp.) and freshwater turtles (Trachemys decussata). Females make mound-type nests at the beginning of the annual rainy season (May-June) and lay 20-40 eggs.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are two main threats: illicit hunting and hybridization with native American Crocodiles. Hunting increased substantially from the 1990s to the present and is principally for the sale of meat to private restaurants serving the tourist industry or for local consumption. Hybridization has long been suspected but poorly understood. Recent genetic studies provide preliminary evidence that extensive hybridization is taking place in the wild. A captive population is present in two areas (in the Zapata Swamp and in the Lanier Swamp) but hybrid animals are strongly suspected in these populations as well. Neither of these threats has been resolved.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed under Appendix I of CITES. There are also direct conservation measures, including captive breeding programmes, reintroductions and protected areas. Illegal hunting continues to occur, therefore further harvest management is required to reduce the rate of population decline currently occurring. Further research and monitoring of the population, taxonomy, harvest levels, and threats to this species should be carried out.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: The assessment was published with the incorrect publication reference attached to it (the 1996 reference was attached instead of the 2008 reference) hence the year published appeared as 1996 instead of 2008. This errata version corrects that error.

Citation: Targarona, R.R., Soberón, R.R., Cotayo, L. & Tabet, M.A. and Thorbjarnarson, J. (IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group). 2008. Crocodylus rhombifer (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T5670A112902585. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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