Demographic and growth analysis of broad snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris) in a disturbed environment in southeastern Brazil
Crocodilian life history traits exhibit strong size and age dependence, which is determined, ultimately, by how fast individuals grow. Crocodilian population dynamics are dependent on environmental conditions such as local temperatures and hydrology. From February 2010 to October 2011 we conducted monthly spotlight surveys to study a broad-snouted caiman population at the Três Marias Hydro-electric Reservoir, southeast Brazil. A total of 12 spotlight surveys were conducted (17.3 to 48.0 km in length), and animals were captured, measured and marked whenever possible. Data were obtained on population size, sex structure, survival, distribution and growth. The number of caimans counted, including hatchlings, varied from 6 to 78 per survey. Marked individuals showed a growth rate that varied between 0.0 and 0.3 cm*day-1 SVL, and between -6.0 and 8.0 g*day-1 body mass. Polyphasic growth was associated with rainfall and water level, which in turn were associated with changes in temperature and diet. The species seems to be resistant to the ecological impacts of damming, an important conservation conclusion considering the large number of hydroelectric dams within the species' range in Brazil.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 1, 2014
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- The Herpetological Journal is an international scientific journal that publishes papers on the natural history of amphibians and reptiles. Experimental, observational and theoretical studies are published along with reviews and book reviews. Faunistic lists, letters and results of general surveys are not published unless they shed light on herpetological problems of wider significance.
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