Atractosteus spatula  (Lacepède, 1803)

Alligator gar
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Atractosteus spatula
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Lepisosteiformes (Gars) > Lepisosteidae (Gars)
Etymology: Atractosteus: Greek, atraktos, arrow + Greek, osteon = bone (Ref. 45335);  spatula: From the words atract, meaning spindle and osteus, meaning bony; spatula (referring to snout shape) (Ref. 10294).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; brackish; demersal; depth range 0 - ? m (Ref. 55223).   Subtropical; 44°N - 20°N, 101°W - 82°W (Ref. 55223)

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 305 cm OT male/unsexed; (Ref. 3221); common length : 200 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3728); max. published weight: 137.0 kg (Ref. 58490)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Large size and broad, short snout. Light dorsal stripe. Dark olivaceous brown above and white to yellowish beneath. Dark brown blotches on all fins (Ref. 37032).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

North America: ranges from Mississippi River basin from southwestern Ohio and southern Illinois in USA south to Gulf of Mexico; Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain from Enconfina River in Florida, USA to Veracruz, Mexico.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Adults inhabit sluggish pools and backwaters of large rivers, swamps, bayous, and lakes. Rarely enter brackish and marine waters (Ref. 5723). Feed on blue crabs, turtles, waterfowl or other birds and small mammals (Ref. 10294). Giant of the gars (Ref. 5723). Marketed fresh (Ref. 37032).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Wiley, Ed | Collaborators

Etnier, D.A. and W.C. Starnes, 1993. The fishes of Tennessee. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. (pls. check date). (Ref. 10294)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
FAO(Publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.6406   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.0   ±0.67 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Very high vulnerability (90 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.