CSL
Tomistoma schlegelii (MÜLLER, 1838)


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]

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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:
Tomistoma, False gharial, False gavial, Falso gavial malayo, Faux gavial malais, Baja (Baya) Kanulong, Bediai Sampit, Boeaja, Buaja, Buaya, Buaya Jolong-Jolong, Buaya Sa(m)pit, Buaya Senjulong, Buaya Sepit, Jolong-Jolong, Malay gavial, Malay gharial, Malayan fish crocodile, Senjulong

There is still doubt over whether this species should belong with Gavialis gangeticus in the family Gavialidae. The most recent fossil and morphological evidence suggests a closer relationship with the Crocodylidae, but there is strong biochemical & immunological evidence which disagrees with this.

NAME ETYMOLOGY:
> Tomistoma means "sharp mouth", derived from tomos (Greek for "cutting" or "sharp") + stoma (Greek for "mouth"), referring to the slender shape of the jaws
> schlegelii means "of Schlegel", referring to the Dutch zoologist H. Schlegel (1804-1884) who is credited with its discovery

DISTRIBUTION:
[CLICK ON MAP FOR DETAILED RANGE]
Distribution map Indonesia (Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, possibly Sulawesi), Malaysia (Malay Peninsula, Borneo), possibly Vietnam, possibly extirpated in Thailand (none seen since 1970)

HABITAT:
Freshwater lakes, rivers & swamps. Reported to use burrows. Seems to prefer vegetative cover, floating mats of vegetation and slow-moving waterways. Very little known, generally.

STATUS:
     CITES: Appendix I
     IUCN Red List: EN C1 (ENDANGERED)
     Estimated wild population: under 2,500
Summary: Still relatively poor survey data, generally widespread but depleted with ongoing threatening processes

APPEARANCE:
[click on image for enlargement]
Head drawing Characteristic slender snout, not dissimilar to the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), from which it derives its common name. Generally dark/chocolate brown as a juvenile, with black banding on tail and body. Dark blotches on jaws. Much juvenile colouration retained in the adult. Maximum size up to 5m (16 feet), although this species may potentially grow larger.

Dentition codeDENTITION:
4-6 pre-maxillary; 15-16 maxillary; 19-20 mandibular
Total no. of teeth = 76-84

IMAGES:
[click on image for enlargement]

Click Top down view of adult Tomistoma head Click Adult Tomistoma in Indonesia Click Subadult Tomistoma from Sumatra
Click Tomistoma egg Click Well developed embryo Click Large adult by canoe in Sumatra
Click Subadult being measured

DIET:
Elongated snout specialised for catching fish, but is actually a more generalist predator than this would suggest. Stomach content analysis from animals in Malaysia show evidence of fish, insects, crustaceans and mammals (Bezuijen pers comm.). It has been reported in the past to take animals as large as macaque monkeys.

BREEDING:
Females sexually mature at 2.5 to 3m. Mound-builder (usually dry leaves or peat) of up to 0.6m (24 inches) in height. 20 to 60 large eggs laid in clutch. Egg length around 100mm. Incubation period around 90 days. The hatchlings receive no parental care, and mortality is consequently high - from predators such as wild pigs and reptiles.

CONSERVATION:
Another poorly-studied species. Few surveys done, but those completed reveal very low populations in fragmented habitat. Enforcement of protected areas in limited. Habitat destruction (cultivation, dams & flood mitigation), drowning in fishing nets, overfishing of food resources and, to a limited extent, the skin trade threaten the species. While captive breeding has being initiated in Europe and the US, and captive animals are present at several centres around the world, conservation and management plans for wild populations are still lacking. Surveys are still being undertaken to assess current distribution in Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries.

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

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

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