Estuarine crocodiles ride surface currents to facilitate long-distance travel

Campbell, Hamish A., Watts, Matthew E., Sullivan, Scott, Read, Mark A., Choukroun, Severine, Irwin, Steve R. and Franklin, Craig E. (2010) Estuarine crocodiles ride surface currents to facilitate long-distance travel. Journal of Animal Ecology, 79 5: 955-964. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01709.x

Author Campbell, Hamish A.
Watts, Matthew E.
Sullivan, Scott
Read, Mark A.
Choukroun, Severine
Irwin, Steve R.
Franklin, Craig E.
Title Estuarine crocodiles ride surface currents to facilitate long-distance travel
Journal name Journal of Animal Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-8790
Publication date 2010-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01709.x
Volume 79
Issue 5
Start page 955
End page 964
Total pages 10
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
060801 Animal Behaviour
Formatted abstract
1. The estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) is the world's largest living reptile. It predominately inhabits freshwater and estuarine habitats, but widespread geographic distribution throughout oceanic islands of the South-east Pacific suggests that individuals undertake sizeable ocean voyages.
2. Here we show that adult C. porosus adopt behavioural strategies to utilise surface water currents during long-distance travel, enabling them to move quickly and efficiently over considerable distances.
3. We used acoustic telemetry to monitor crocodile movement throughout 63 km of river, and found that when individuals engaged in a long-distance, constant direction journey (>10 km day-1, they would only travel when current flow direction was favourable. Depth and temperature measurements from implanted transmitters showed that they remained at the water surface during travel but would dive to the river substratum or climb out on the river bank if current flow direction became unfavourable.
4. Satellite positional fixes from tagged crocodiles engaged in ocean travel were overlaid with residual surface current (RSC) estimates. The data showed a strong correlation existed between the bearing of the RSC and that of the travelling crocodile (r2= 0.92, P < 0.0001).
5. The study demonstrates that C. porosus dramatically increase their travel potential by riding surface currents, providing an effective dispersal strategy for this species.
©2010 The Authors. Journal compilation ©2010 British Ecological Society

Keyword Behaviour
Crocodylus porosus
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 33 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 29 Aug 2010, 00:04:17 EST