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Chinese Alligator
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Crocodilia
Family: Alligatoridae
Genus: Alligator
Species: A. sinensis
Binomial name
Alligator sinensis
Fauvel, 1879

The Chinese Alligator or Alligator (simplified Chinese: 扬子鳄traditional Chinese: 揚子鱷, (yáng zǐ è) Alligator sinensis) is one of two known living species of Alligator, a genus in the family Alligatoridae. The Chinese Alligator is native only to China. It is smaller than the other alligator species, the American Alligator, growing to an average of 1.5 m (5 ft).

Contents

Appearance

While its appearance is very similar to the only other living member of the genus, the American Alligator, there are a few differences. One obvious difference is that the Chinese Alligator is quite small. Usually only attaining a length of 5 feet, these alligators are known to grow to 7 feet, though that was not officially announced until recently. Unlike the American Alligator, the Chinese Alligator is fully armored; even the belly is armored, which is a feature of only a few crocodilians. They weigh up to 100 lbs (44.4 kg). Chinese alligators grow slowly, being only 2 ft (60 cm) long after 2 years of age.

Geographic range and habitat

While it originally ranged through much of China, this species' wild habitat has been reduced to little more than a few ponds containing a small number of animals (fewer than 200 individuals, only approximately 50 of which are mature) along the lower Yangtze River in the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Anhui. Its population reduction has been mostly due to conversion of its habitat to agricultural use. Poisoning of rats, which the alligators then eat, has also been blamed for their decline. In the past decade, very few wild nests have been found, and even fewer produced viable offspring.

Conservation status

The Chinese alligator is listed as a CITES Appendix I species, which puts extreme restrictions on its trade and exportation throughout the world. It is IUCN Red Listed as a critically endangered species. Efforts are underway to reintroduce captive-bred animals to suitable wild habitats, but thus far have not met with much success.

In captivity

Chinese alligators are quite prolific in captivity, with estimates of the total captive population at over 10,000 animals, mostly in the Anhui Research Centre of Chinese Alligator Reproduction and the Madras Crocodile Bank, as well as in numerous zoos, including the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park which has successfully bred the Chinese Alligator and has been fortunate enough to release some of the offspring back into the wild in China. They can also be seen in the Cincinnati Zoo's reptile house.

In several restaurants and food centres in China's booming areas, young and premature alligators are allowed to roam free with their mouths taped shut.[1] They are subsequently killed for human consumption, as in China alligator meat is thought to cure colds and prevent cancer.[1]

This species is widely regarded as quite docile, but, as with any crocodilian, it is capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Cultural influence

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Martial arts

A rare alligator form exists in the cadre of animal forms belonging to Xingyi boxing.[2] One source states this technique was inspired by the way an alligator can "float and swim well".[3] It goes on to say "The alligator’s attribute is a combination of quietness, nimbleness, and a sudden, smooth, and quickly twisting force."[3] The character used to represent alligator in this instance is Tuo (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: ),[3] which is different from the character regularly used to describe both the alligator and crocodile. Tuo is generally used to describe any number of large reptiles or water lizards.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b Chang, L. T., and Olson, R.. Gilded Age, Gilded Cage. National Geographic Magazine, May 2008.
  2. ^ Xing Yi Chuan
  3. ^ a b c Shengli, Lu. Combat Techniques of Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua: Principles and Practices of Internal Martial Arts. Berkeley, Calif: Blue Snake, 2006 (ISBN 1583941452)
  4. ^ Tuo definition

External links


Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Alligator sinensis

Taxonavigation

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Reptilia
Subclassis: Diapsida
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Divisio: Archosauria
Subdivisio: Crurotarsi
Superordo: Crocodylomorpha
Ordo: Crocodilia
Subordo: Eusuchia
Familia: Alligatoridae
Subfamilia: Alligatorinae
Genus: Alligator
Species: Alligator sinensis

Name

Alligator sinensis Fauvel, 1879

Type locality: "Chinkiang" [=Zhenjiang], Kiangsu Province, People's Republic of China; reported as "Wuhu, Anhwei" Province, by Pope 1935, Nat. Hist. Cent. Asia, Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 10:65

Holotype: MNHN 6494

Synonyms

  • Alligator sinensis Fauvel, 1879
  • Caigator sinensisDeraniyagala, 1947
  • Alligator sinensisWermuth & Fuchs, 1979
  • Alligator sinensis — Wu et al., 2001

References

Vernacular names

Deutsch: China-Alligator
English: Chinese alligator
Español: Aligator de China
Français: Alligator de Chine
日本語: ヨウスコウアリゲーター, ヨウスコウワニ
Polski: Aligator chiński
中文: 扬子鳄, 鼍
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Alligator sinensis on Wikimedia Commons.

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