, Volume 595, Issue 1, pp 587-591
Date: 18 Dec 2007

Global diversity of crocodiles (Crocodilia, Reptilia) in freshwater

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Abstract

Living crocodilians include the 24 species of alligators, caimans, crocodiles and gharials. These large semi-aquatic ambush predators are ubiquitous in freshwater ecosystems throughout the world’s tropics and warm temperate regions. Extant crocodilian diversity is low, but the group has a rich fossil record in every continental deposit. Most populations suffered from over-hunting and habitat loss during the twentieth century and even though some species remain critically endangered others are real success stories in conservation biology and have become important economic resources.