Spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus)
A relatively small to medium-sized crocodilian, the spectacled caiman is named for the bony ridge between the front of the eyes, which appears to join the eyes like a pair of spectacles. Although potentially growing up to 3 metres in length, the male rarely exceeds about 2.5 metres, while the female is smaller, at a maximum of up to 2 metres. In addition to the bony ridge between the eyes, the spectacled caiman also possesses a triangular ridge on top of the eye, and, like other members of the alligator family, it has a relatively broad, blunt snout.
Juvenile spectacled caimans are yellowish in colour, with black spots and bands on the body and tail. As an individual matures, it becomes more olive-green, and the markings become less distinct. Interestingly, this species may have some ability to change colour. The spectacled caiman is one of the most variable of the New World crocodilians, and three subspecies are generally recognized, which differ in colour, size and skull shape. A fourth subspecies, Caiman crocodilus yacare, is now regarded as a separate species, the Yacaré caiman (Caiman yacare), while populations of Caiman crocodilus fuscus in Mexico potentially comprise a further subspecies, Caiman crocodilus chiapasius.