Crocodylus rhombifer

Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_onStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA REPTILIA CROCODYLIA CROCODYLIDAE

Scientific Name: Crocodylus rhombifer
Species Authority: 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: 1996
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)
Justification:
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.
History:
1996 Endangered
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Endangered (IUCN 1990)
1988 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

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:
Native:
Cuba
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.).

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.

Bibliography [top]

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Crocodile Specialist Group. 2012. Specialist Group website. Available at: http://www.iucncsg.org/.

Groombridge, B. 1982. The IUCN Amphibia-Reptilia Red Data Book, Part 1: Testudines, Crocodylia, Rhynocehapalia. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1986. 1986 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1988. 1988 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Ross, J.P. 1998. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan: Crocodiles. IUCN, Crocodile Specialist Group.

Soberon, R., Ross, P. and Seal, U. 2000. Crocodile Cubano (Crocodylus rhombifer) Analisis de viabilidad de la poblacion y del Habitat. IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.

Varona, L.S. 1966. Notas Sobre los crocodilidos de Cuba y description de una nueva especie del pleistoceno. Poeyana 16: 3-31.

Webb, G.J.W., Manolis, S.C. and Whitehead, P.J. 1987. Wildlife management: Crocodiles and Alligators. Beatty & Sons Pty Ltd, Chipping Norton, Surrey, United Kingdom.


Citation: Targarona, R.R., Soberón, R.R., Cotayo, L. & Tabet, M.A. and Thorbjarnarson, J. (IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group) 1996. Crocodylus rhombifer. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided