American Alligator at Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida.

Meet the Amazing Alligator



Introduction  Taxonomy, Phylogeny & Etymology  |  Distribution & Population  |  Ecology

Anatomy & Physiology  |  Diet & Digestion  Thermoregulation  Reproduction  Neonate Care  Ethology

Survival  |  Human Conflict  |  Cultural & Commercial Impact  | Conservation


Prime Observation Locations  |  Bibliography  |  Filmography  |  Suggested Publications  |  References



Images are by the author unless otherwise indicated. Header image above by N. B.


An alli gator afloat in water reflecting the gold of a sunset.AMERICAN ALLIGATOR

Alligator mississippiensis


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Superorder: Crocodylomorpha

Order: Crocodilia

Family: Alligatoridae

Genus: Alligator


(Image: istockphoto/LarryLynch)


International: Lower risk/ least concern

U.S.: Threatened ('Due to similarity of appearance to the American Crocodile, Crocodylus acutus')

 Florida: Threatened ('Due to similarity of appearance to the American Crocodile, Crocodylus acutus')



The letter"T".he natural history of the alligator and its closest living relatives is a dramatic story of reptiles having shared in varying form, habitat with the great dinosaurs and other beasts of eons past, and having endured a barrage of cataclysmic planetary events. Today, the alligator is experiencing a peculiar chapter in its story, sharing its fragment of earth with a burgeoning population of the dominant species, Home sapien - the human.


The Alligator genus entered the story of evolution about 37 million years ago during the Oligicene epoch. The species living today in North America may date back as far as eight million years, a survivor not just in the context of resilience and adaptation, but in its curious appeal to the two-legged hominid mammal species -- the human -- that largely controls its destiny. 


While the animal was threatened by humans, the humans found a way to conserve it in a more-or-less mutually beneficial fashion by means of qualified, localized protection and the application of the concept of sustainable use. Among the reptile's appreciated attributes are its foundational positions in ecosystems, its value in commerce, its burgeoning use in medicinal science, and its appeal to human intrigue.


It follows then that its conservation-propelled, thriving population would eventually challenge the perspectives and lifestyles of its human neighbor, whose wants and needs sometime conflict with those of the reptilian cohabitant.


Knowledge of this animal can be enriching to your understanding of the natural enviroment, even if you don't live in the alligator's region. This charismatic reptile offers an abundance of fascination and intrigue and it is hoped that this article will do the subject some justice.


This article is composed of various subject sections, as represented by the links in the sub-menu above, and is intended to be an accessible and readable general treatment of the species. Subjects overlap each other, so you will get the most benefit in reading the entire work, which can fairly easily be achieved in a single sitting. Moreover, the article, "An Alligator Safety Guide" (linked by the "Staying Safe" tab atop this page), is meant to complement this article, since it covers a range of topics which overlap the present one.


Click on a link from the menu atop this page to navigate this article.



SUGGESTED ARTICLE CITATION: Dupont, Israel. 2008. Meet the amazing alligator: species profile of Alligator mississippiensis.  [ [insert date cited] ]; Rev. July 2017. Available from: htm.




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