Crocodylus acutus. By Ken Mayer.



Meet the Alligator's Distant (but Local) Relative



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

Anatomy & Physiology  |  Diet & Digestion  |  Reproduction  |  Survival  |  Human Conflict

Cultural & Commercial Impact  |  Suggested Publications   References



Images are by the author unless otherwise indicated.


American crocodile basking.AMERICAN


Crocodylus acutus


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Superorder: Crocodylomorpha

Order: Crocodilia

Family: Crocodylidae




(Image: Georgiana Wingard, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)


International: Vulnerable

U.S.: Threatened

Florida: Threatened



The letter"T".he American Crocodile, also called the Florida Crocodile, is a 'cousin' of the American Alligator. As crocodyliformes, the reptile relatives share many anatomical and physiological features, but are rather distant genetically, having diverged in evolution from a common ancestor millions of years ago. The American croc is the only species of crocodilian that naturally shares habitat with a member of the Alligator genus; together they inhabit tropical and sub-tropical southern Florida.


The American crocodile (scientific name: Crocodylus acutus) is a reptile among the class of snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises and the lizard-like Tuatara. It is one of about 26 crocodilians in the world, an order which includes two alligators, one from North America, another from China, about 15 tropical crocodiles scattered about the globe, six alligator-like caimans from South America and the tropical slender-snouted gharial and Tomistoma crocodiles. You may review a complete list, here.


This website is intended to focus on the American Alligator, so this profile of the crocodile is not as extensive as that of the alligator. You may find it helpful to refer to the alligator section on "Thermoregulation" to supplement this article, as crocodilians control their body temperature in same way.


An American crocodile floats in a marsh.


The American crocodile shown above, like its relatives among the crocodilian order, can remain still for long periods of time, yet are capable of startling bursts of movement; this may be done for the purpose of evasion, siezure of prey, or attack. The photos above clearly demonstrate physical features of the crocodile that contrast it from the alligator. Note the narrow snout, irregularly arranged scales, and color.



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SUGGESTED ARTICLE CITATION: Dupont, Israel. 2008. Meet the alligator's distant (but local) relative: species profile of Crocodylus acutus. [ [insert date cited] ]; Rev. December 2017. Available from: http://www.croc


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