Skip to Main Content
Diet of the non-native spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) in Puerto RicoAuthor(s): Damien Bontemps; Elvira Cuevas; Eileen Ortiz; Joseph Wunderle Jr.; Rafael Joglar
Source: Management of Biological Invasions
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Download Publication (768.0 KB)
DescriptionThe spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) was introduced to Puerto Rico over 50 years ago with the Tortuguero Lagoon Natural Reserve (TLNR) as its epicenter, where it is now established as an apex predator. Although concerns have been raised regarding the potential impact of this naturalized predator on Puerto Rico’s native fauna, little was known of the caiman’s diet on the island. Therefore this study was conducted to determine the diet of the spectacled caiman and its potential impact on island animals. For this study, measurements were obtained from 138 caimans across all life stages (12–94 cm snout–vent length; SVL) from October 2014 to May 2015 within the TLNR. Stomach contents were retrieved and analyzed based on prey category occurrence frequency. In addition, caiman muscle samples were obtained to determine their nitrogen and carbon isotopic signature. Insects were the most abundant prey items encountered with 90.7% and 68.8% in hatchling (SVL < 20 cm) and juvenile (SVL = 20–59.9 cm) stomach respectively. In adult (SVL > 60 cm) caimans, fish remains were the most significant prey items with 38.3% frequency of occurrence. Fish, insects, and gastropods were the only categories of ten designated prey categories to show significant variation among the three caiman age classes. This study provides novel information on dietary habits of spectacled caimans in Puerto Rico relevant to the design of management strategies.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationBontemps, Damien; Cuevas, Elvira; Ortiz, Eileen; Wunderle, Joseph; Joglar, Rafael. 2016. Diet of the non-native spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) in Puerto Rico. Management of Biological Invasions, Vol. 7(3): 287-296.
Keywordsdiet analysis, stomach content, stable isotopes, exotic apex predator, crocodilian
- Diet of the Del Norte Salamander (Plethodon elongatus): Differences by age, gender, and season.
- Diet Overlap and Predation between Smallmouth Bass and Walleye in a North Temperate Lake
- The food habits of fishers (Pekania pennanti) in the Cascade Range of Southern Oregon
XML: View XML