Tags: african | crocodile | species | slender-snouted

African Crocodile Species: New Slender-Snouted Croc Identified

slender-snouted crocodile swimming in green brackish water
An African slender-snouted crocodile swimming in green brackish water on July 21, 2013. (Abhishek Singh/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 25 October 2018 11:41 AM

A new species of the African slender-snouted crocodile was discovered by researchers who said on Wednesday that their findings highlighted a cause for "great conservation concern."

Scientists made the startling discovery while studying the slender-snouted crocodile, which was listed as a critically endangered species in 2014.

Upon examining the DNA and physical characteristics of crocodiles both in the wild and in captivity from six African countries, the team found two distinct species of slender-snouted crocodiles, which they noted in a study published in Zootaxa.

One specie was unique to West Africa but the second was unique to Central Africa, making it the first new living crocodile species to be defined in nearly 85 years.

The two species bear many similarities.

According to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums describes, the slender-snouted crocodile grows between 2.5 to 4.2 meters in length and is easily recognized by its very long and slender snout.

The difference between the West African and Central African slender-snouted crocodiles lies predominantly in their DNA, and can also be seen in their skull shapes and scales.

Researchers said the discovery raises concerns about current conservation practices and whether or not they are enough to protect the species.

"Recognizing the slender-snouted crocodile as actually comprised of two different species is cause for great conservation concern," said Matthew Shirley, a crocodile expert at Florida International University's Tropical Conservation Institute and lead researcher of the team that made the discovery.

He noted that only 10 percent of slender-snouted crocodiles occur in West Africa, which diminished its population by 90 percent.

"This makes the West African slender-snouted crocodile one of the most critically endangered crocodile species in the world," Shirley said. "We hope that this better understanding of slender-snouted crocodile evolution and taxonomy draws much-needed attention to the plight of this species, which has long been recognized as the least known crocodilian in the world."

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Scientists studying the endangered African slender-snouted crocodile have discovered that there are actually two distinct species of slender-snouted crocodiles.
african, crocodile, species, slender-snouted
Thursday, 25 October 2018 11:41 AM
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