Oecologia

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 21–34

An ecological study of Caiman crocodilus crocodilus inhabiting savanna lagoons in the Venezuelan Guayana

  • S. J. Gorzula
Article

Summary

Mark and recapture studies were carried out for three and a half years on a population of Caiman c. crocodilus inhabiting a savanna lagoon system in the Venezuelan Guayana. Sub-adult and adult caimans migrated from permanent lagoon refuges to temporary lagoons during the wet season. A distinct homing response by artificially displaced caimans was observed.

The wet season was the most significant time of the year for both feeding and growth. It was estimated that caimans take 6 years to reach a size of 97 cm. Thereafter the growth rate was variable. During a dry year there was little growth, but during a wet year a large caiman could increase in length by up to 10 cm.

During the first 18 months of life, young caimans remained near the nest site. Older caimans dispersed and competed for territories which resulted in a high incidence of damage, particularly to the tails, as a result of intraspecific fighting.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alvarez del Toro, M.: Los Crocodylia de Mexico. A.C., Mexico, D.F.: Instituto Mexicano de Recursos Naturales Renovables 1969Google Scholar
  2. Castroviejo, J., Ibañez, C., Braza, F.: Datos sobre la alimentacion del Babo o Caiman Chico (Caiman sclerops) en los Llanos de Venezuela. In: II Seminario sobre Chigüires (Hydrochoerus hidrochaeris) y las Babas (Caiman crocodilus), Maracay, 1 al 4 Diciembre, 1976 (in press)Google Scholar
  3. Diefenbach, C.O. da C.: Thermal preferences and thermoregulation in Caiman crocodilus. Copeia 1975, 530–540 (1975)Google Scholar
  4. Donoso-Barros, R.: Contribucion al conocimiento de los Cocodrilos de Venezuela. Physis 25, 387–400 (1965)Google Scholar
  5. Ewel, J.J., Madriz, A.: Zonas de Vida de Venezuela. Ministerio de Agricultura y Cria, Direccion de Investigacion, Caracas (1968)Google Scholar
  6. Lang, J.W.: Amphibious behaviour of Alligator mississippiensis: Roles of a circadian rhythm and light. Science 191, 575–577 (1976)Google Scholar
  7. Lever, J.: Crocodile industry training manual. DASF Wildlife Manual No 75/1, Konedobu (1975)Google Scholar
  8. Rivero Blanco, C.: Habitos reproductivos de la baba en los Llanos de Venezuela. Natura 52, 24–29 (1974)Google Scholar
  9. Smith, E.N., Allison, R.D., Crowder, W.E.: Bradycardia in a free ranging American alligator. Copeia 1974, 770–772 (1974)Google Scholar
  10. Staton, M.A., Dixon, J.A.: Studies on the dry season biology of Caiman crocodilus crocodilus from the Venezuelan Llanos. Mem. Soc. Cien. Nat. La Salle, 35, 237–265 (1975)Google Scholar
  11. Staton, M.A., Dixon, J.A.: Breeding biology of the spectacled caiman Caiman crocodilus crocodilus in the Venezuelan Llanos. Wildlife Research Report 5, Fish and Wildlife Service, USA (1976)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Gorzula
    • 1
  1. 1.Div. Fauna, Centro Simon BolivarMARNRCaracasVenezuela

Personalised recommendations