The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

2020 Impact Factor for the Herpetological Journal is 0.862

pdf 08. Life in the water: ecology of the Jacarerana lizard, Crocodilurus amazonicus


Open Access

pp. 171-176
Authors: Martins, Marcio

Abstract: The semi-aquatic teiid lizard Crocodilurus amazonicus (local name jacarerana) inhabits lakes and rivers throughout Amazonia. Although it is a common species in many areas, very little information is available on its biology. I provide information on the ecology of C. amazonicus in areas of flooded forests in central Amazonia, Brazil. Most field observations were made at two igapó (blackwater swamp) forest in the Negro River basin, from 1992 to 1995. Lizards were found accidentally or during time-constrained searches by boat or on foot. More than 100 individuals were observed in both areas. Lizards were either swimming in shallow waters or exposed on the ground or on low vegetation. During low water, when large expanses of shoreline became exposed, C. amazonicus foraged and basked on these margins. When the water began to rise and several ponds were formed in the igapó forests, the lizards moved into the flooded forest. They were much easier to find during low water. The jacarerana feeds on several prey types, but eats more crustaceans and other aquatic animals than terrestrial teiids. I found 85 prey items in 26 stomachs. Arthropods (insects, shrimps, crabs and spiders) comprised about two thirds of total prey volume and vertebrates (fish and frogs, including tadpoles) about one third. Because most prey were aquatic, C. amazonicus probably forages mainly in the water. The jacarerana may be the only Neotropical lizard that feeds frequently on fish (23% of total prey volume) and crabs (16%). The occurrence of C. amazonicus in many protected areas in Brazil and adjacent countries may offset population declines associated with development in the future.


Download Access:

The latest 8 issues can be downloaded when logged in with a Herpetological Journal subscription membership.

Individual articles can be purchased for download.

Older issues and occasional Open Access articles are available for public download


For further information and submission guidelines please see our Journal Instructions to Authors

pdfBHS Ethics Policy


Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.