Body Condition of Morelet's Crocodiles ( Crocodylus moreletii ) from Northern Belize

  • Mazzotti F
  • Cherkiss M
  • Brandt L
 et al. 
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Abstract

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.

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Authors

  • Frank J. Mazzotti

  • Michael S. Cherkiss

  • Laura a. Brandt

  • Ikuko Fujisaki

  • Kristen Hart

  • Brian Jeffery

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