Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Lepisosteiformes
(Gars) > Lepisosteidae
Etymology: Atractosteus: Greek, atraktos, arrow + Greek, osteon = bone (Ref. 45335); spatula: Atractosteus meaning spindle bone, and spatula in reference to the broad, elongated snout (Ref. 79012).
More on author: Lacepède.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; brackish; demersal; depth range 0 - ? m (Ref. 55223). Subtropical; 44°N - 20°N, 101°W - 82°W (Ref. 55223)
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.
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).
Facultative air-breathing (Ref. 126274); 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. 125652)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804
= 0.6406 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00302 (0.00121 - 0.00751), b=3.18 (2.96 - 3.40), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 4.0 ±0.67 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (90 of 100).