Essay On Alligator

Decent Essays
They are the only alligator in the United States. In the article by Brochu (2003) it is discussed where alligators fall in the crocodilian phylogenetic tree. Morphological studies suggest that alligators should be placed as a basal species because their snout is the widest of all the crocodilians, with the gharials being the most derived. With the advent of genetic testing, it has been found that gharials should be placed as the basal species instead. The following picture taken from the Brochu paper shows the morphological tree on the left and the latest DNA data on the right.
The Florida Museum of Natural History website says that there are two extinct species, A. mefferdi and A. olseni, that lived within A. mississippiensis range that is currently causing issues with the taxonomy. These two extinct species look similar to current species and there is questions as to if they should be to considered separate species as the American alligator has a high degree of morphological variation. The hypothesis as to where these species fall is given in the following image
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Mississippiensis can be found along the gulf coast of North America. This includes the western range of eastern Texas, as far north as North Carolina, and as far south as Florida.
The US Department of the Interior National Park Services website states, A. Mississippiensis can be found in freshwater slow moving bodies of water like marshes, lakes, bayous, and swamps. This can include rivers, streams, and mangroves. While they do not have the ability to excrete salt, they are able to tolerate the brackish water around the mangroves for a short amount of time. Elsey and Woodward (2010) state that they are good burrows and are known to burrow out dens for very hot and cold weather. They are also able to withstand short periods of freezing temperatures in
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