Alligators at Mamirauá Reserve can reach over 5 meters in length – and are easily seen around
We are striving to continue taking the Amazon to you during the period of social isolation – which is why today we start a new series!
Our naturalist guide Cynthia Lebrão will report more about the fauna of Mamirauá Reserve – the most exotic species, some trivia and science and everything you would certainly ask a guide during your stay at Uakari Lodge 😉
On today’s post, Cynthia will tell us more about the enigmatic alligators of Mamirauá Reserve 🐊🐊🐊 :
“Black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), Spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus), Cuvier’s dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus) and Smooth-fronted caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus) are the four species of alligators found in Mamirauá and belong to the Alligatoridae family. it must probably already be turning its eyes to biologists, who invent as many complicated names as possible, but these classifications are also important to trace the evolutionary history of organisms. Crocodilians (order Crocodylia), for example, have a fascinating evolution, since their ancestors appeared at least 320 million years ago and have survived, including the great extinctions that marked history, until the present thanks to the resistant design and anatomy.
The animals of the order Crocodylia are semi-aquatic, have a flattened tail and the eyes, nostril and tympanic membrane on top of the head. There are 23 current species distributed in three families: Alligatoridae, Crocodylidae and Gavialidae. The latter has only one species, the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), easily distinguishable from the others by the narrow snout adapted to a fish-eating diet. Alligators (Alligatoridae family) have the widest snout among the three groups, which facilitates their varied feeding. Finally, the crocodiles, family Crocodylidae, have a little narrower snout than alligators and when they are with their mouth closed the 4th lower tooth is visible.
It is always impressive to observe crocodilians (order Crocodylia) as they are survivors of a very old group of animals. Most impressive is to observe the Black caimans (Melanosuchus niger), with the whole body (which can reach 5.5 m in length!) Out of the water during the dry season here in the Mamirauá Reserve. During the flood it is common to see only the eyes and nostrils of these animals out of the water “.
(Credits: Cynthia Lebrão)