|Scientific Name:||Crocodylus moreletii|
|Species Authority:||Duméril & Bibron, 1851|
|Taxonomic Notes:||There are indications that Crocodylus moreletii and Crocodylus acutus are hybridizing in sympatric zones of Belize and Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula, although the frequency and degree of genetic contact has yet to be established (Ray et al. 2004, Cedeño-Vázquez et al. in revision, Rodriguez et al. in revision).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Cedeño-Vázquez, J.R., Platt, S.G. & Thorbjarnarson, J. (IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group)|
|Reviewer(s):||Bohm, M., Collen, B., Ram, M., Ross, J.P., Dacey, T. & Webb, G.J.W.|
|Contributor(s):||De Silva, R., Milligan, HT, Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.|
Although Crocodylus moreletii was heavily exploited during the early and mid 20th century, populations have recovered considerably, and healthy populations thrive throughout much of the species range, therefore this species has been assessed as Least Concern. Monitoring of this species should be carried out to ensure that any future population declines are noted.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
|Range Description:||This species is distributed from northeastern Mexico's central Tamaulipas area, through the Yucatan Peninsula to northern Guatemala and central Belize. From 2002 to 2004, Mexico developed the "COPAN" project to assess the presence of the species across its historical range and in outlying areas; 63 localities were surveyed in 10 States (Sigler and Dominguez 2008). In Mexico, C. moreletii occupies an estimated area of 396,455 km² (estimated by GARP algorithm and based on historical and actual localities). Total historical distribution across all three range states has been estimated as 450,000 km², of which 88% lies in Mexico (CONABIO 2006).|
Native:Belize; Guatemala; Mexico
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||While this species has suffered population declines throughout its range, it is thought to be widely distributed in much of its original habitat (Ross 1995) and in protected areas there are healthy populations (Ross 1998). This species suffered severe population declines in the early 20th century due to exploitation (Casas-Andreu and Guzmán 1970) and was nearly extirpated in several portions of its range, however, after conservation action and legislative protection, many subpopulations are recovering (Platt and Thorbjarnarson 2000, Dominguez-Laso 2006). According to recent survey data, Domínguez-Laso (2006) estimated the population size to be between 79,000 and 100,000 individuals in Mexico. Available survey data for the three range states: Guatemala (Castañeda 2000), Mexico (CONABIO 2006) and Belize (Meerman pers. comm. in CONABIO 2006), suggest the relative abundance of C. moreletii is similar to other crocodilians that are not endangered. Morelet's Crocodile populations in Belize recovered rapidly following cessation of skin hunting, and the species is now regarded as common, even occurring within urban areas such as Belize City (Platt et al. 2008).|
|Current Population Trend:||Stable|
|Habitat and Ecology:||The species inhabits mainly freshwater areas such as marshes, swamps, ponds, rivers, lagoons and man-made waterbodies, but occasionally is found in brackish or saline habitats (Alvarez del Toro and Sigler 2001, Escobedo-Galvan et al. 2008, Platt et al. 2008). Females construct a mound nest of fresh and decomposing vegetation and soil, into which 20-50 eggs are laid at the end of the dry season (usually mid-May to late June or early July). Hatching occurs in August and September, when the wet season is at its peak, after approximately 75 to 85 days of incubation (Alvarez del Toro 1974, Perez-Higareda 1980, Platt et al. 2008).|
|Use and Trade:||Morelet's Crocodile is legally protected in the three range states. Legal trade in the species from Mexico is restricted to animals from CITES-registered captive breeding operations. Total annual production from the two CITES-registered farms (in 2009) was around 8,000 skins, with half going to local markets and the remainder being exported (CONABIO 2006). None of the three range states have established legal use of wild populations (CONABIO 2006). Mexico successfully downlisted C. moreletii populations in Mexico and Belize to CITES Appendix II, with a zero quota for commercial trade in wild specimens, at the 15th CITES meeting (March 2010). Although no use of the wild population is proposed at this time, it is a possible option in the future.|
Populations of Morelet's Crocodile were greatly reduced in many areas due to unregulated skin hunting, which occurred principally in the 1940s and 1950s (Alvarez del Toro 1974, Platt and Thorbjarnarson 2000). A prohibition was decreed for the region in the 1970s, but illegal hunting persisted into the 1980s and 1990s. Due to severe sanctions, illegal hunting is now thought to be minimal, but still considered to be the principal threat to population recovery in some areas. Traditional use of the species persists, especially in rural communities (Merediz-Alonso 1999, Zamudio-Acedo 2002).
Tests on wild eggs of this species show that exposure to chemical pollutants including pesticides may be a significant threat to the long-term survival of some populations (Wu et al. 2000).
|Conservation Actions:||There are diverse, ongoing conservation measures in place for this species, including captive breeding programmes, protected areas and national and international legislative protection. Monitoring of this species should be carried out.|
Álvarez del Toro, M. 1974. Los Crocodylia de México (Estudio comparativo). IMRNR, México, D.F.
Álvarez del Toro, M. and Sigler L. 2001. Los Crocodylia de México. IMRNR-PROFEPA, México, D.F.
Casas-Andreu, G. and Guzmán, M. 1970. Estado actual de las investigaciones sobre cocodrilos mexicanos. Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Biológico Pesqueras, Serie Divulgación, Boletín 3: 1-50.
Castañeda-Moya, F.J. 2000. Estatus de Crocodylus moreletii en el parque nacional Laguna del Tigre, Petén, Guatemala. The 15th Working Meeting of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group: Pp. 521 in Crocodiles. IUCN: Gland.
Cedeño-Vázquez, J.R. 2008. Genética de poblaciones, ﬂujo genético e hibridación de Crocodylus acutus y C. moreletii en la Península de Yucatán, México. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur.
Cedeño-Vázquez, J.R., Rodríguez, D., Calmé, S., Ross, J.P., Densmore, L.D. and Thorbjarnarson, J.B. 2008. Genetics of American and Morelet's Crocodiles in the Yucatan Peninsula: Species Integrity and Hybridization. Journal of Experimental Zoology: (Comparative Physiology and Ecology) 309A: 661-673.
Cedeño-Vázquez, J.R., Rodríguez, D., Calmé, S., Ross, J.P., Densmore, L.D. and Thorbjarnarson, J.B. 2008. Hybridization between Crocodylus acutus and Crocodylus moreletii in the Yucatan Peninsula: I. Evidence from mitochondrial DNA and morphology. Journal of Experimental Zoology 309A(10): 661-673.
Cedeño-Vázquez, J.R., Ross, J.P. and Calmé, S. 2006. Population status and distribution of Crocodylus acutus and C. moreletii in southeastern Quintana Roo, México. Herpetological Natural History 10: 53-66.
CONABIO. 2006. Estrategia Tri-nacional Belice-Guatemala-México para la Conservación y el Manejo Sostenible del Cocodrilo de Morelet (Crocodylus moreletii). CONABIO, México, D.F.
Domínguez-Laso, J. 2006. Determinación del estado de las poblaciones silvestres del cocodrilo de pantano (Crocodylus moreletii) en México y evaluación de su estatus en la CITES. Instituto de Historia Natural y Ecología..
Domínguez-Laso, J., Hinojosa-Falcón, O. and Sigler L. 2004. Determinación del estado de las poblaciones silvestres del cocodrilo de pantano (Crocodylus moreletii) en México y evaluación de su estatus en la CITES. Resúmenes de la VIII Reunión Nacional de Herpetología, Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, Villahermosa Tabasco.
Escobedo-Galvan, A.H., Palacios-Chavez, V. and Vovides-Tejera, A. 2008. Crocodylus moreletii (Morelet's crocodile). Salinity tolerante. Herpetological Review 39: 346-347.
Hekkala, E.R. 2004. Conservation genetics at the species boundary: case studies from African and Caribbean crocodilos (Genus: Crocodylus). Columbia University.
Hunt, H.R. 1973. Breeding Morelet's crocodile Crocodylus moreletii at Atlanta Zoo. Int. Zoo Yearbook 13: 103-105.
Hunt, H.R. 1980. Propagation of Morelet's crocodile. SSAR Contribution to Herpetology 1: 161-165.
Hurley, B. 2007. Crocodylus moreletii. Available at: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Crocodylus_moreletii.html..
IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (Accessed: 30 September).
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 17 October 2012).
Köhler, G. 2003. Reptiles of Central America. Herpeton, Germany.
Meerman, J. 1994. The status of crocodiles in eastern Corozal district. Estudio Integral. Recursos Naturales de la Frontera México-Belice., pp. Pp. 107-112. CIQROO, Chetumal, México.
Merediz-Alonso, G. 1999. Ecology, sustainable use by local people, and conservation of Morelet's crocodile Crocodylus moreletii in Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Quintana Roo, Mexico. State University of New York.
Navarro-Serment, C.J. 2004. The Return of Morelet's Crocodile Crocodylus moreletii. Reptilia 36: 54-60.
Perez-Higareda, G. 1980. Notes on nesting of Crocodylus moreletii in southern Veracruz, Mexico. Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc. 16(2): 52-53.
Platt, S.G. 1996. The ecology and status Morelet's crocodile in Belize. Clemson University.
Platt, S.G. and Rainwater, T.R. 2005. A review of morphological characters useful for distinguishing Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) and American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) with an emphasis on populations in the coastal zone of Belize. Bull. Chicago Herp. Soc. 40(2): 25-29.
Platt, S.G. and Rainwater, T.R. 2007. Notes on the consumption of Bufo marinus (Anura: Bufonidae) by Crocodylus moreletii (Crocodylidae) in northern Belize. Brenesia 67: 79-81.
Platt, S.G. and Thorbjarnarson, J.B. 2000. Population status and conservation of Morelet's crocodile Crocodylus moreletii, in northern Belize. Biol. Conserv. 96(1): 21-29.
Platt, S.G. and Thorbjarnarson, J.B. 2000. Population status and conservation of Morelet's Crocodile, Crocodylus moreletti in northern Belize. Biological Conservation 96: 21-29.
Platt, S.G., Rainwater, T.R. and McMurry, S.T. 2002. Diet, gastrolith acquisition, and initiation of feeding among hatchling Morelet's crocodiles in Belize. Herpetological Journal 12: 81–84.
Platt, S.G., Rainwater, T.R. and McMurry, S.T. 2003. A simple model for estimating the age of Morelet's crocodile embryos. Herpetol. Rev. 34: 121-122.
Platt, S.G., Rainwater, T.R., Finger, A.G., Thorbjarnarson, J.B., Anderson, T.A. and McMurry, S.T. 2006. Food habits, ontogenic dietary partitioning and observations on foraging behavior of Morelet's crocodile Crocodylus moreletii in northern Belize. Herp. J. 16: 281-290.
Platt, S.G., Rainwater, T.R., Snider, S., Garel, A., Anderson, T.A. and McMurry, S.T. 2007. Consumption of large mammals by Crocodylus moreletii: Field observations of necrophagy and interspeciﬁc kleptoparasitism. Southwestern Naturalist 52: 310-317.
Platt, S.G., Rainwater, T.R., Thorbjarnarson, J.B. and McMurry, S.T. 2008. Reproductive dynamics of a tropical freshwater crocodilian: Morelet's crocodile in northern Belize. J. Zool. 275(177-189).
Platt, S.G., Rainwater, T.R., Thorbjarnarson, J.B., Finger, A.G., Anderson, T.A. and McMurry, S.T. In press. Size estimation, morphometrics, sex ratio, sexual size dimorphism, and biomass of Morelet's crocodile in northern Belize. Caribbean Journal of Science.
Platt, S.G., Thorbjarnarson, J.B. and Rainwater, T.R. 1999. Distribution of Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) in southern Belize. Southwestern Naturalist 44: 395-398.
Rainwater, T.R. 2003. Ecotoxicology of Morelet's crocodile in Belice. Texas Tech University.
Rainwater, T.R., Adair, B.M., Platt, S.G., Anderson, T.A., Cobb, G.P. and McMurry, S.T. 2002. Mercury in Morelet's crocodile eggs from northern Belize. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 42: 319-324.
Rainwater, T.R., McMurry, S.T. and Platt, S.G. 2000. Crocodylus moreletii (Morelet's crocodile) behavior. Herpetological Review 31: 237.
Rainwater, T.R., Platt, S.G., and McMurry, S.T. 1998. A population study of Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) in the New River Watershed of northern Belize. The 14th Working Meeting of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group: Pp. 206-220 in Crocodiles. IUCN: Gland.
Rainwater, T.R., Selcer, K.W., Nespoli, L.M., Finger, A.G.,Ray, D.A., Platt, S.G., Smith, P.N., Densmore, L.D., Anderson, T.A. and McMurry, S.T. 2008. Plasma vitellogenin in Morelet's crocodile from contaminated habitats in northern Belize. Environmental Pollution 153: 101-109.
Rainwater, T.R., Wu, T.H., Finger, A.G., Cañas, J.E., Yu, L., Reynolds, K.D., Coimbatore, G., Barr, B., Platt, S.G., Cobb, G.P., Anderson, T.A. and McMurry, S.T. 2007. Metals and organochlorine pesticides in caudal scutes of crocodiles from Belize and Costa Rica. Science of the Total Environment 373: 146-156.
Ray, D.A., Dever, J.A., Platt, S.G., Rainwater, T.R., Finger, A.G., McMurry, S.T., Batzer, M.A., Barr, B., Stafford, P.J., McKnight, J., and Densmore, L.D. 2004. Low Levels of Nucleotide Diversity in Crocodylus moreletii and Evidence of Hybridization with C. acutus. Conservation Genetics 5(4): 449-462.
Rodriguez, D., Cedeño-Vázquez, J.R., Forstner, M.R.J. and Densmore, L.D. 2008. Hybridization between Crocodylus acutus and Crocodylus moreletii in the Yucatan Peninsula: II. Evidence from microsatellites. Journal of Experimental Zoology 309A(10): 674-686.
Rodriguez, D., Cedeño-Vázquez, J.R., Forstner, M.R.J. and Densmore, L.D. 2008. Using Microsatellites to Describe Hybridization Zones Between Crocodylus acutus and Crocodylus moreletii in the Yucatan Peninsula. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Comparative Physiology and Ecology) 309A: 674-686.
Ross, J.P. 1995. Conservation of Morelet's Crocodile (extract from Conservation and Management of C. moreletii in Mexico, field trip report, December 1995). Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter 14.
Ross, J.P. (ed.). 1998. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan: Crocodiles. 2nd Edition. IUCN/SSC Crocodile Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Sigler, L. and Dominguez-Laso, J. 2008. Historical and current distribution of the Morelet's crocodile Crocodylus moreletii (Duméril and Duméril 1851) in Mexico. Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter 27(1): 11-13.
Sigler, L. and Gallegos, M.M.J. 2002. Análisis de la información existente sobre el cocodrilo de pantano Crocodylus moreletii (Duméril y Duméril 1851). Manuscrito entregado a la Comisión Nacional para el conocimiento y uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO), México, D.F.
Sigler, L., León-Ojeda, F., Domínguez-Laso, J., López-Ozuna, L., Lavín-Murcio, P. and Hinojosa-Falcón, O. 2002. Surveys of wild populations of Morelet's crocodile Crocodylus moreletii in several states of the Mexican Republic. The 16th Working Meeting of the IUCN-SSC Crocodile Specialist Group.: Pp. 222 in Crocodiles. IUCN: Gland.
Stafford, P.J., McMurry, S.T., Rainwater, T.R., Ray, D.A.,Densmore, L.D. and Barr, B. 2003. Status of Morelet's crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) in the Macal River watershed, Belize. Herpetological Bulletin 85: 15-23.
Wilson, L.D., Townsend, J.H. and Johnson, J.D. (eds). 2010. Conservation of Mesoamerican amphibians and reptiles. pp. 816. Eagle Mountain Publishing, Eagle Mountain, Utah.
Wu, T.H., Rainwater, T.R., Platt, S.G., McMurrya, S.T. and Anderson, T.A. 2000. Organochlorine contaminants in Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) eggs from Belize. Chemosphere 40(6): 671-678.
Wu, T.H., Rainwater, T.R., Platt, S.G., McMurry, S.T. and Anderson, T.A. 2000. DDE residues in eggs of two crocodile species in Belize. J. Agric. Food Chem 48: 6416-6420.
Zamudio-Acedo, F. 2004. Conocimiento ecológico y sistema de manejo maya del lagarto Crocodylus moreletii en Quintana Roo, México. El Colegio de la Frontera Sur.
|Citation:||Cedeño-Vázquez, J.R., Platt, S.G. & Thorbjarnarson, J. (IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group). 2012. Crocodylus moreletii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T5663A3045579.Downloaded on 24 August 2016.|