Biology

Difference between Crocodile and Cayman

Crocodiles appeared about 200 million years ago, being an evolutionarily conservative group. They form the current Crocodylia order that belongs to the Archeosauria subclass, the same as dinosaurs and birds. Alligators and crocodiles belong to different families, the family Crocodylidae (the crocodiles) and Alligatoridae (the alligators). They live between 80 and 100 years. But do alligators and crocodiles have differences?

How to differentiate them?

The most noticeable difference is in the teeth. All crocodilians have the fourth tooth of the lower jaw hypertrophied and embedded in a lateral cavity on the outside of the mouth. This tooth is exposed even when the mouth is closed, whereas in alligators it is hidden inside the mouth.

The upper teeth of crocodiles are aligned with the lower ones, but those of alligators are not. Furthermore, crocodiles live in fresh and/or salt water, while alligators live only in fresh water.

Main differences between crocodiles and alligators

Alligators have a wide, rounded snout, while crocodiles have a sharper head. In addition, crocodilians have so-called glandular pores on their belly scales. This is a feature absent in their cousins ​​the alligators. The exact function of these pores is not known, but it is speculated that they may serve to exchange heat and water with the envir

Importance of the alligator in nature

Alligators are important in the ecological chain. The broad-snouted alligator, for example, likes to eat mollusks (snails), hosts of Schistosoma mansoni, which causes schistosomiasis (water belly). On the other hand, alligator feces are rich in nitrogen, an essential nutrient for the development of phytoplankton.

This is the food base of minnows and all other fish when they are smaller, called fingerlings. The smaller fish are the food of the larger ones and so on.

Economic importance of alligators

Everything is used from the alligator. Its skin is used for footwear and bags; the glands are used as aroma fixatives in the production of perfumes; the fat is used in medications for asthma and bronchitis. Alligator leather goods are considered luxury throughout the world.

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