Cash, W. Ben Department of Biology, Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee.
Campbell, Howard W. National Fisheries and Wildlife Laboratory, Gainesville, Florida.
Last reviewed:November 2015
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- Alligator species
- Caiman species
- Anatomical features
- Habitat and behaviors
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A large aquatic reptile of the family Alligatoridae. Alligators belong to the family Alligatoridae in the reptilian order Crocodylia (Crocodilia). Common usage generally restricts the name alligator to the two extant species of the genus Alligator. However, the family Alligatoridae also includes three genera (six species) of caimans. With the crocodiles and gharials (gavials), these are survivors of archosaurian stock and are considered close to the evolutionary line that gave rise to birds. See also: Archosauria; Crocodile; Crocodylia; Gavial; Reptilia
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