CSL
Crocodylus novaeguineae (SCHMIDT, 1928)


NAMES | DISTRIBUTION | HABITAT | STATUS | APPEARANCE | IMAGES | DIET | BREEDING | CONSERVATION

FAMILY:
ALLIGATORIDAE

A. mississippiensis
A. sinensis
C. crocodilus
C. c. apaporiensis
C. c. fuscus
C. latirostris
C. yacare
M. niger
P. palpebrosus
P. trigonatus

FAMILY:
CROCODYLIDAE

C. acutus
C. intermedius
C. johnstoni
C. mindorensis
C. moreletii
C. niloticus
C. novaeguineae
C. palustris
C. porosus
C. rhombifer
C. siamensis
M. cataphractus
O. tetraspis
T. schlegelii

FAMILY:
GAVIALIDAE

G. gangeticus

DICHOTOMOUS KEY
[German]

MAIN MENU

STATUS OF INFORMATION:
This information was most-recently updated January 2009 and is considered up-to-date. Please contact me directly regarding updates or corrections.

COMMON NAMES:
New Guinea Crocodile, New Guinea freshwater crocodile, Singapore large grain, Buaya air tawar, Puk Puk, Wahne huala

NAME ETYMOLOGY:
> Crocodylus is derived from the Greek krokodeilos which means literally "pebble worm" (kroko = pebble; deilos = worm, or man) referring to the appearance of a crocodile.
> novaeguineae means "of New Guinea"

SUBSPECIES:
There are currently no recognised subspecies. Hall (1989) described morphological and reproductive differences between northern and southern populations due to their geographical isolation - different populations are separated by a mountain chain running between Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea. The northern form always has 4 post-occipital scales on the neck, but the southern form can have between 4 and 6. The northern form nests in the dry season, whereas the southern form nests during the wet season. The southern form lays fewer, larger eggs which hatch into significantly (by 5 cm) longer hatchlings on average. Despite these differences, different subspecies are not recognised at this time (relatively minor intraspecific differences due to genetics or environment are not uncommon in crocodilians). Until recently, however, this species was split into C. n. novaeguineae (New Guinea Crocodile) and C. n. mindorensis (Philippine crocodile), but most sources now acknowledge the Philippine crocodile as a separate species.

DISTRIBUTION:
[CLICK ON MAP FOR DETAILED RANGE]
Distribution map Indonesia (Irian Jaya), Papua New Guinea. Probably recently extinct in the Aru islands

HABITAT:
Found extensively in freshwater swamps, marshes and lakes. Very rarely found in coastal areas, and then never with Crocodylus porosus, whose range it overlaps. Reported to remain in covered areas during the day, rarely emerging to bask in the open, being primarily nocturnal. May be found in the river systems during the dry season.

STATUS:
     CITES: Appendix II
     IUCN Red List: LRlc (LOW RISK, LEAST CONCERN)
     Estimated wild population: 50,000 to 100,000
Summary: Highly successful management program in PNG has led to healthy populations in good habitat. Progress with management underway in Irian Jaya

APPEARANCE:
[click on image for enlargement]
Head drawing Small to medium-sized crocodile (3.5 m maximum length in males, 2.7 m maximum in females but generally smaller). Superficially similar in appearance to C. siamensis, particularly the juveniles of both species. The snout is relatively narrow. Body colouration is brownish to grey, with darkish banding on the body and tail which is more apparent in younger animals.

Dentition codeDENTITION:
5 pre-maxillary; 13-14 maxillary; 15 mandibular
Total no. of teeth = 66-68

IMAGES:
[click on image for enlargement]

Click Adult totally submerged in pool

DIET:
Feeds mainly at night on fish, waterbirds (rails and grebes) and other vertebrates such as amphibians and reptiles. Juveniles eat aquatic invertebrates and insects.

BREEDING:
Females reach sexual maturity from 1.6 to 2 m, males around 2.5 m. During the breeding season, females construct mound nests. Eggs are laid around 2 weeks after mating. Crocodiles in the north lay 22 to 45 eggs during the dry season, usually in overgrown river tributaries and on floating mats of vegetation. Southern crocodiles lay on nests built on land at the start of the wet season, and their clutches are generally smaller than those in the north (although the eggs themselves are larger). Females remain close to the nest, but do not necessarily defend it actively. Juveniles hatch after around 80 days, and both males and females have been reported to assist opening the nest and moving the hatchlings to the water.

CONSERVATION:
Large amounts of suitable wetland habitat and consequently low human population have benefited this species. Skin, however, is very valuable, although not as much as the skin of C. porosus. Initial over-hunting and non-sustainable harvesting in the 1950s and '60s led to legislation being introduced in the 1970s to start a regulated management program based around cropping and ranching. The benefits of this sustainable use go towards the traditional landowners, who still own most of the land in PNG. Crocodile eggs and hatchlings are also harvested and sold to raising facilities in exchange for both cash and chicken eggs. Harvesting programs can only succeed in conjunction with an organised monitoring program, and such a program has been running for some years in PNG with a very good set of data available. Such a program is now being initiated in Irian Jaya, together with an effective program to cut down on illegal trade, through the formation of a Crocodile Management Task Force which exists in conjunction with CITES. For a species once threatened with extinction, the establishment of successful ranching and control programs have contributed greatly to its recovery. This management will be refined in the near future.

MORE INFORMATION:
For more information on distribution and conservation issues for this species,see the CSG
Action Plan resource.

SIGNIFICANT REFERENCES:

  • Hall, P & Johnson, DR (1987). Nesting biology of Crocodylus novaeguineae in Lake Murray District, Papua New Guinea. Herpetologica 43: 249-258
  • Hall, PM (1989). Variation in geographic isolates of the New Guinea crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae Schmidt) compared with the similar, allopatric, Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus mindorensis Schmidt). Copeia 1989(1): 71-80
  • Hall, PM (1991). Estimation of nesting female crocodilian size from clutch characteristics: correlates of reproductive mode, and harvest implications. J. Herpetology 25(2): 133-141
  • Hall, PM & Portier, KM (1994). Cranial morphology of New Guinea (Crocodylus novaeguineae) crocodiles: ontogenetic variation in relative growth of the skull and an assessment of its utility as a predictor of the sex and size of individuals. Herpetological Monographs 8: 203-225
  • Solmu, GC (1994). Status of Crocodylus porosus and Crocodylus novaeguineae populations in Papua New Guinea, 1981-1994. In: Crocodiles. Proceedings of the 12th Working Meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. pp. 77-102
  • NAMES | DISTRIBUTION | HABITAT | STATUS | APPEARANCE | IMAGES | DIET | BREEDING | CONSERVATION

    SPECIES LIST | BIOLOGY DATABASE | COMMUNICATION | CAPTIVE CARE
    CROCS ON FILM | CROC SHOTS | CHINESE ALLIGATOR FUND | CROC LINKS


    Return to Crocodilians Natural History & Conservation
    Design and content by Adam Britton © 1995-2012 All rights reserved. [email]