Classification / Names
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Lepisosteiformes
(Gars) > Lepisosteidae
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
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)
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).
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.
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
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)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 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 (83 of 100) .