Holly arnell - thorpe
Common Caiman - Caiman Crocodilus
A caiman crocodile, one of the most adaptable, and therefore common of all crocodilian species, preserved in the moment of hatching. Cut away to show sections of the organs and skeletal structure of this young reptile which is still attached to the amnion that would have formed a protective layer around the developing embryo. This hatchling’s gender would have been determined by the temperature of its nest during incubation; at 31°C or lower, it would have been male, but with just a slight increase to 32°C it would be female. Being a more maternal species than many other reptiles this caiman’s mother would have taken care of her young for up to four months after they had synchronized their hatching and alerted their parent to help in their unique way of calling from inside their eggs, they would have used their ‘egg teeth’ - the protruding spikes on their snouts - to break through the membranes and then been taken out of their shells and into the river by their mother.
This illustration was drawn from a wet specimen in the london hunterian museum. I have always loved the peculiar collection they exhibit and I have found inspiration for many illustrations there.
Pen and ink - dotwork
As the author of illustration I have given permission and consent to be loaded in Wikimedia Commons with Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0.