Crocodilian Species

There are 23 species of crocodilian currently recognised. However, evidence suggests that the three currently recognised species from Africa warrant being split into 7 species [ie Crocodylus niloticus to C. suchus and C. niloticus; Osteolaemus tetraspis to O. tetraspis, O. osborni and O. sp. nov.); and, Mecistops cataphractus to Mecistops sp. (Central Africa) and Mecistops sp. (West Africa); Eaton 2010; Hekkala et al. 2011; Shirley et al. 2013]. Note: although Crocodylus cataphractus is now generally acknowledged as Mecistops cataphractus, the latter is not formally accepted by IUCN and CITES, and so the former name is used here.

Descriptions for each of the 23 species are provided as pdf documents below.


Eaton, M.J. (2010). Dwarf Crocodile Osteolaemus tetraspis. Pp. 127-132 in Crocodiles. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. Third Edition. Crocodile Specialist Group: Darwin.

Hekkala, E., Shirley, M.H., Amato, G., Austin, J.D., Charter, S., Thorbjarnarson, J., Vliet, K.A., Houck, M.L., Desalle, R. and Blum, M.J. (2011). An ancient icon reveals new mysteries: mummy DNA resurrects a cryptic species within the Nile crocodile. Molecular Ecology (doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05245.x).

Shirley, M.H., Vliet, K.A., Carr, A.N. and Austin, J.D. (2013). Rigorous approaches to species delimitation have significant implications for African crocodile systematics and conservation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281(1776): 20132483.

Common Name Species Name Species Description
American Alligator Alligator mississippiensis download pdf
Chinese Alligator
Alligator sinensis
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Spectacled Caiman
Caiman crocodilus
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Broad-snouted Caiman
Caiman latirostris
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Yacare Caiman
Caiman yacare
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Black Caiman
Melanosuchus niger
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Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman
Palaeosuchus palpebrosus
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Schneider's Smooth-fronted Caiman
Palaeosuchus trigonatus
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American Crocodile
Crocodylus acutus
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African Slender-snouted Crocodile
Crocodylus cataphractus
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Orinoco Crocodile
Crocodylus intermedius
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Australian Freshwater Crocodile
Crocodylus johnsoni
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Philippine Crocodile
Crocodylus mindorensis
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Morelet's Crocodile
Crocodylus moreletii
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Nile Crocodile
Crocodylus niloticus
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New Guinea Freshwater Crocodile Crocodylus novaeguineae download pdf
Mugger Crocodile
Crocodylus palustris
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Saltwater Crocodile Crocodylus porosus download pdf
Cuban Crocodile
Crocodylus rhombifer
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Siamese Crocodile
Crocodylus siamensis
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Dwarf Crocodile
Osteolaemus tetraspis
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Gavialis gangeticus
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Tomistoma schlegelii
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