I am starting a new project something that has always fascinated me are scientific charts. So I am going to start making them…some truth, some elaboration, but that’s what the masters did too.

Illustration of a Gharial,(Gavialis gangeticus) a rare freshwater crocodile that inhabits only two rivers in Nepal and India. These crocs are going extinct and it’s a shame, hence the precious egg emphasized. They don’t breed well in captivity and happen to be the only croc with a visible sexual dimorphism.Look at that nose! 

More to come!

The Gharial, a critically endangered cocodrilian from the Indian subcontinent

The Gharial, Gavialis gangeticus, is a cocodrilian characterised by its long and slender snout, specialized for catching fish. This species is one of the largest crocodilians in the world. Males grow to be between 5 and 6 meters long, with the larger ones approaching 6.5 meters. Females are smaller, but reach more than 4 meters.

Gharials are found in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. They were the first crocodilian to be categorized as critically endangered by IUCN.

In the photo a gharial basking in the sun in Chambal river, Rajasthan, India.

More information

Photo credit: Aditya Singh

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Loricata in the AMNH.
Rausuchids, crocodylomorphs, phytosaurs amd crocodylians.
Photos by me

Loricata en el AMNH.
Rauisuquios, crocodilomorfos, fitosaurios y cocodrilos.
Fotos mías.

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Gharial 

(Gavialis gangeticus

also known as a gavial or a fish-eating crocodile. is a crocodilian of the genus Gavialis and is the sole living representative of it’s genus.. for now. as is it is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. they can be found in northern India and parts of Pakistan. they can grow up to 16ft (largest ever recorded was 23 ft) and weigh up to 550 lb. they are easily recognized by their long snout and laterally flattened tail. they are also the only known crocodile to exhibit visible sexual dimorphism other than size, as males have a growth on their long snout and females do not. also unlike other crocodiles gharials do not eat humans and are very sensitive and intimidated by humans, and their and fragile jaws physically cannot eat a large animal such as a human.

Phylogeny

Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Crocodilia-Gavialidae-Gavialis

The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) | ©Subhash Ranjan 

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.

The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is a crocodilian of the family Gavialidae that is native to the Indian subcontinent and also called Gavial and Fish-eating crocodile.

As the species has undergone both chronic long term and a rapid short-term declines it is listed as a Critically Endangered by IUCN.

An illustration of a juvenile American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, one of the vertebrate species we now have a whole genome sequence for. You can get a hi-res version of this illustration, and several others I have made, from this shared folder: Illustrations - Shared Copy folder.

The alligator genome has been available for a few years already, and earlier this year the International Crocodilian Genomes Working Group (ICGWG) announced the completion of the saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, and Indian gharial, Gavialis gangeticus, genomes as well. Together they represent all three extant families of the order Crocodylia.

With these genomes researchers hope to learn more about the early evolution of amniotes, the group that includes the different reptilian orders as well as birds and mammals. Amniotes were the first vertebrates to be completely adapted to life on land by evolving eggs with a membrane and fluid-filled space around the embryo - the amniotic sac. They also offer a tantalizing insight into the genomes of dinosaurs, since crocodylians, to the best of our knowledge, are the closest relatives of both dinosaurs and birds. Crocodylians are also important, and often threatened, components of many warm water ecosystems, and have the potential to teach us a lot about human ecological impact. Especially with regard to environmental toxins, which these fantastic animals are especially sensitive to.

St John, J., Braun, E., Isberg, S., Miles, L., Chong, A., Gongora, J., Dalzell, P., Moran, C., Bed’Hom, B., Abzhanov, A., Burgess, S., Cooksey, A., Castoe, T., Crawford, N., Densmore, L., Drew, J., Edwards, S., Faircloth, B., Fujita, M., Greenwold, M., Hoffmann, F., Howard, J., Iguchi, T., Janes, D., Khan, S., Kohno, S., de Koning, A., Lance, S., McCarthy, F., & McCormack, J. (2012). Sequencing three crocodilian genomes to illuminate the evolution of archosaurs and amniotes Genome Biology, 13 (1) DOI: 10.1186/gb-2012-13-1-415

Gavial by PerAnd1 on Flickr.

The Gharial is undoubtedly the most bizarre looking crocodilian. Its very long, very slender snout is adapted to catch fish, as are the interlocking, needle-like teeth. Gharials are possibly the most aquatic of all crocodilians, and they have very short and weak legs; they actually only leave water to bask in the sun and to lay their eggs. This crocodilian is found in India and Nepal, and is among the largest members of the group, reaching 7 meters (23′) in length. Despite their huge size, they are usually harmless to humans; however, they can bite in self defense if provoked. Gharials get their name from the protuberance in the adult male’s snout, which is called a ghara. Gharials use the ghara to produce a sound which is supposed to attract potential mates.

It seems that males also use their ghara to produce bubbles with the same purpose. Some prehistoric crocodilians such as the enormous, dinosaur-eating Sarcosuchus also had a ghara. Who knows what amazing sounds they may have produced! Gharials are, themselves, the last survivors (along with false gharials) of a crocodilian group that was once widely distributed and diverse; remains of gharials and gharial-like crocodilians have been found even in South America! Unfortunately, the survival of the Gharial is, as usual, threatened by the advance of “civilization” and the loss of habitat. There are around 1500 gharials living in the wild nowadays, and the population seems to be declining due to water pollution with heavy metals.

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