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Body condition of Morelet’s Crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii) from northern Belize

December 7, 2012

Body condition factors have been used as an indicator of health and well-being of crocodilians. We evaluated body condition of Morelet's Crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii) in northern Belize in relation to biotic (size, sex, and habitat) and abiotic (location, water level, and air temperature) factors. We also tested the hypothesis that high water levels and warm temperatures combine or interact to result in a decrease in body condition. Size class, temperature, and water level explained 20% of the variability in condition of Morelet's Crocodiles in this study. We found that adult crocodiles had higher condition scores than juveniles/subadults but that sex, habitat, and site had no effect. We confirmed our hypothesis that warm temperatures and high water levels interact to decrease body condition. We related body condition of Morelet's Crocodiles to natural fluctuations in air temperatures and water levels in northern Belize, providing baseline conditions for population and ecosystem monitoring.

Publication Year 2012
Title Body condition of Morelet’s Crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii) from northern Belize
DOI 10.1670/11-188
Authors Frank J. Mazzotti, Michael S. Cherkiss, Laura A. Brandt, Ikuko Fujisaki, Kristen Hart, Brian Jeffery, Scott T. McMurry, Steven G. Platt, Thomas R. Rainwater, Joy Vinci
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Herpetology
Index ID 70041546
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southeast Ecological Science Center