Crocodilian Biology and Conservation

     Although most of my research as been with Squamata reptiles, being a herpetologist in  Venezuela involves being  somewhat of a generalist.   There are way too many herps and very few herpetologist.  During my field work in the llanos, I have spend considerable time with croc biologist and due to my draw towards large reptiles I have ended up helping in collaborating with them quite a bit.

    Back in 1990 I was among the people that participated on the first reintroduction of Orinoco crocodiles in the the wild as an effort revocer their populations and later in 1998, while I was looking for anacondas with a filming crew from England, we were lucky enough to find the first two clutches of the reintroduced animals in the wild.  Later on, my follow up of other animals reintroduced in other places gave me enough  information to assess the age at first reproduction of these wonderful reptiles.

    On 1999 I started teaching a course of Tropical Ecology for  Boston University (click here to see some of the students) that allowed me to travel throughout Ecuador and visit many of its wonderful natural areas.  One of which is dead in the midle of a very pristine rainforest in the basin of the Napo River, Tiputini Biodiversity Station.  While looking for a black water lagoon that a friend suspected was around, we ran into a nest of dwarf caimans (Paleosuchus trigonatus).  This findings gave me the opportuinty channel the interest of some of my students on collecting good data on the natural history of these very unknown species that so far has produced two interesting contributions on their nesting habits and the time budget of the babies.  While were were there we also studied the diet, habitat use of dwarf caimans as well as how the overlap niche with spectacled caimans.

Publications on Crocodilian biology


Rivas, J. A. and R. Y. Owens Crocodylus intermedius (Orinoco crocodile): age at first reproduction Herpetological Review.

White, J. M. and J. A. Rivas. 2004. Paleosuchus trigonatus (Dwarf Caiman) Neonate time budget.  Herpetological Review (click here for pdf)

Rivas, J. A., Aktay, S. A. and R. Y. Owens. 2001  Paleosuchus trigonatus (Schneiderís Smooth-fronted Caiman): Nesting and hatching Herpetological Review. 32: 251. (PDF file)



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