There are four living species of caiman, three in the genus Caiman and one in the genus Melanosuchus. In general, caimans are smaller than their alligator and crocodile relatives, though the black caiman rivals the American alligator in size.
All caiman species are currently considered “Least Concern” species, meaning they are not currently in imminent danger of extinction. However, they do face threats from habitat destruction, and potential overhunting for their meat and skins.
One species, the spectacled caimans, has been introduced to other countries, and may compete with native species. In Cuba, it is believed that non-native caimans may be contributing to the decline of the endangered Cuban crocodile.