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For the genus, see Caiman (genus). For other uses, see Caiman (disambiguation).

Caimans are alligatorid crocodylians within Caimaninae. The group is one of two primary lineages within Alligatoridae, the other being alligators. Caimans inhabit Central and South America. They are relatively small crocodylians, with the smallest being Cuvier's dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus palpebrosus), which grows to 1 m (3 ft) long and the largest being the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), which can grow to 4 m (13 ft) or more. Several extinct forms are known, including Purussaurus, a giant Miocene genus that grew to 12 m (39 ft) and the equally large Mourasuchus, which had a wide duck-like snout.

Taxonomy

  • Subfamily Caimaninae
    • Genus †Centenariosuchus
    • Genus †Culebrasuchus
    • Genus †Eocaiman
    • Genus †Globidentosuchus
    • Genus Paleosuchus
      • P. palpebrosus, Cuvier's dwarf caiman
      • P. trigonatus, smooth-fronted caiman
    • Genus †Purussaurus
    • Genus †Mourasuchus
    • Genus †Necrosuchus
    • Genus †Orthogenysuchus
    • Genus †Tsoabichi
    • Clade Jacarea
      • Genus Caiman
        • C. yacare, Yacare caiman
        • C. crocodilus, spectacled caiman
          • C. c. apaporiensis, Rio Apaporis caiman
          • C. c. fuscus, brown caiman
        • C. lutescens
        • C. venezuelensis
        • C. latirostris, broad-snouted caiman
      • Genus Melanosuchus
        • M. fisheri
        • M. niger, black caiman

Phylogeny

Below is a cladogram modified from Brochu (2011).

 Alligatoridae 

Alligatorinae


 Caimaninae 

Eocaiman cavernensis




Necrosuchus ionensis



Tsoabichi greenriverensis




Paleosuchus palpebrosus



Paleosuchus trigonatus





Mourasuchus



Orthogenysuchus olseni




Purussaurus mirandai



Purussaurus neivensis




 Jacarea 


Caiman crocodilus



Caiman yacare





Caiman latirostris



UCMP 39978 (referred to Caiman lutescens)




Melanosuchus fisheri



Melanosuchus niger








Below is a cladogram modified from Hastings et al. (2013).



Stangerochampsa mccabei




Brachychampsa montana



Brachychampsa sealeyi



 Alligatoridae 

Alligatorinae


 Caimaninae 

Culebrasuchus mesoamericanus




Eocaiman cavernensis




Tsoabichi greenriverensis





Paleosuchus palpebrosus



Paleosuchus trigonatus






Centenariosuchus gilmorei




Purussaurus neivensis




Mourasuchus



Orthogenysuchus olseni








Caiman crocodilus



Caiman yacare





Caiman latirostris



Caiman lutescens




Melanosuchus fisheri



Melanosuchus niger












References