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Spectacled Caiman

Spectacled Caiman
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 1991-08
Categories: Reptiles
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Reptiles - Crocs, alligators, caimans, & garials 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-05-16 12:12
Viewed: 5310
Points: 14
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Yet another scanned slide! Pentax SFX, 70-210 lense and Agfa 100asa slide film. Conditions were difficult because of the contrast between the intense tropical light and shade. This Caiman was resting on this pile of decaying vegetation - I missed it on the way up the channel, but it had returned and I got one shot on the return - automatic focus has come a long way since!

Caimans are reptiles, small species of crocodilians and forming the family Alligatoridae (sometimes regarded instead as the subfamily Alligatorinae).

Caimans and alligators differ from crocodiles principally in having wider and shorter heads, with more obtuse snouts; in having the fourth, enlarged tooth of the under jaw received, not into an external notch, but into a pit formed for it within the upper one; in lacking a jagged fringe which appears on the hind legs and feet of the crocodile; in having the toes of the hind feet webbed not more than half way to the tips; and in tolerance to salinity, alligators strongly preferring fresh water, while crocodiles can tolerate salt water due to specialized glands for filtering out salt. In general, crocodiles tend to be more dangerous to humans than alligators.

In Central and South America, alligators are represented by five species of the genus Caiman, which differs from the alligator by the absence of a bony septum between the nostrils, and the ventral armour is composed of overlapping bony scutes, each of which is formed of two parts united by a suture. Some authorities further divide this genus into three, splitting off the smooth-fronted caimans into a genus Paleosuchus and the Black Caiman into Melanosuchus.

C. crocodilus, the Spectacled Caiman, has the widest distribution, from southern Mexico to the northern half of Argentina, and grows to a modest size of about 7 feet. The largest, attaining an enormous bulk and a length of 20 ft., is the near-threatened Melanosuchus niger, the Jacare-assu, Large, or Black Caiman of the Amazon. The Black Caiman and American Alligator are the only members of the alligator family posing the same danger to humans as the larger species of the crocodile family.

garyfudge, ramthakur, nglen, delic, stevkds has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi James,

Wow, I don't think I would like to get too close.

It looks like it was difficult lighting conditions, so this is pretty good.
Nice one.


This is a pretty good capture dating back to 1991, James. Yes, the bright tropical light is quite strong here but you have captured the Caiman very well.
Thanks and take care.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-05-16 15:24]

Hi James. good shot of the caiman. under bright ligting. well done. look like he would give you a good bite.TFS.Nick..

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-05-16 15:59]

Hello James,
Took a lotf alligator shots in Louisiana and thought this was one of them. Interesting note about the distinction of (sub)species. Excellent capture that shows the caiman in natural habitat.
Best wishes,

Hi James.
Interesintg shot. Good POV. Risk work. :-)Great atmosphere. Well done. tfs. stev

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-05-16 22:51]

Hello James

Another amazing shot.Is that caiman smiling at you? Well focused and with good details despite bright light.TFS


very action shot!

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