Alligator gar


Alligator gar

Taxobox
name = Alligator gar



image_width = 240px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Actinopterygii
ordo = Lepisosteiformes
familia = Lepisosteidae
genus = "Atractosteus"
species = "A. spatula"
binomial = "Atractosteus spatula"
binomial_authority = (Lacépède, 1803)
synonyms = "Lepisosteus spatula" Lacépède, 1803 "Atractosteus adamantinus" Rafinesque, 1818

The alligator gar, "Atractosteus spatula", is a primitive ray-finned fish. Its also referred to as the gator gar. Unlike other gars, the mature alligator gar possesses a dual row of large teeth in the upper jaw. These remarkably alligator-like teeth, along with its snout, give it its name. The dorsal surface of the alligator gar is a brown or olive-color, while the ventral surface tends to be a lighter color. Their scales are diamond-shaped and interlocking (ganoid) and are sometimes used by Native Americans for jewelry.

Also unlike other gars, the alligator gar is capable of breathing air and can survive up to two hours above water.

The alligator gar is the largest species of gar and is the largest exclusively freshwater fish in North America. It can be as long as eight to twelve feet and often weighs at least 100 pounds at maturity. The current world record alligator gar weighed 279 pounds and was caught in the Rio Grande River in 1951. Even larger alligator gars — over 300 pounds — have been caught by trotliners.

Location

Alligator gar are found in the southeastern United States: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and in Paris, Illinois in the Twin Lakes area. They have also been known occasionally to come as far north as central Kansas, off the Republican River and up into Clarks Creek. They inhabit sluggish pools and backwaters or large rivers, bayous, and lakes. They are rarely found in brackish or saltwater, but are more adaptable to the latter than are other gars. In February 2007, a 1.5-foot alligator gar was found roaming far in the city of Jakarta, Indonesia, when the city was hit by a major flood (see External Links below). In January 2008, a 3-kg gator gar was found by fishermen in Bera, Pahang (East Coast State of Malaysia), when it was caught entangled in a fishing net.

Behavior

Very, very SCARY!!!

Feeding

The alligator gar is an aggressive, solitary fish that lives in fresh water bodies in the southeastern U.S. It is carnivorous. However, it is not ordinarily aggressive towards humans. Alligator Gar feeds by lurking amongst reeds and other underwater plant life, waiting for food to pass by. Though subsisting mostly on fish, the alligator gar will also eat waterfowl.

Alligator gar have also been known to attack humans in some very rare cases. [Citation | last=Hendershott | first=A.J. | last2=Helfrich | first2=Phil | date=September 2007 | title=Encore! | periodical=Missouri Conservationist | place=Jefferson City, MO | publisher=Missouri Department of Conservation | volume=68 | issue=9 | pages=19-23 | issn=0026-6515] .

Breeding

Though the alligator gar prefers slow-moving waters, it appears to need running water in order to spawn.

Taxonomic history

Until relatively recently all gars have generally been classified in the genus "Lepisosteus" Lacepède, 1803. The alligator gar had been given the name "Atractosteus adamantinus" by the eccentric Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz in 1818, and for a long time "Atractosteus" was simply viewed as a junior synonym of "Lepisosteus". E. O. Wiley resurrected this genus in 1976, in his work "The phylogeny and biogeography of fossil and Recent gars".

Based on Wiley's work, after 1976 the gars were officially split into "Lepisosteus" and "Atractosteus", and ever since then zoos, aquarium books, anglers, and so on have been gradually catching up with the proper terminology.

Human usage

port fish

Oklahoma,Texas,Arkansas and Louisiana allow regulated sport fishing of the alligator gar.

The fish is popular amongst bowfishers because of its size and tendency to brawl. An interesting anatomical feature of this fish is that its buoyancy bladder is directly connected to its throat, giving it the ability to draw in air from above the water. For this reason, alligator gar are often found near the surface of a body of water, making them an easy target for bowfishers.

Food source

Alligator gar aren't widely eaten by humans, though in some southern areas, particularly in Texas and Louisiana, they are served in restaurants and considered a viable food source.

References

*
*
* Lacepède, B. G. E. 1803, "Histoire naturelle des poissons"; Hist. Nat. Poiss. i-lxviii + 1-803 + index
* Rafinesque, C. S., 1820, "Ichthyologia Ohiensis" [Part 8] . Western Rev. Misc. Mag. 165-173.
* E. O. Wiley, 1976. "The phylogeny and biogeography of fossil and Recent gars" (Actinopterygii: Lepisosteidae). Mus. Nat. Hist. Univ. Kansas Misc. Publ. 64:1-111.
* [http://faculty.evansville.edu/ck6/bstud/hugegar.html Alligator Gar at the University of Evansville]
* [http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/species/alg/ Alligator Gar at Texas Parks and Wildlife]

External links

* [http://www.whozoo.org/Anlife99/paulstov/alligatorgarindex2.htm Alligator Gar information from The Fort Worth Zoo]
* [http://www.landbigfish.com/fish/fish.cfm?ID=67 Land Big Fish Alligator Gar Trophy Room]
* [http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/alligatorgarrec.htm 184-pound State of Oklahoma Record]
* [http://www.detik.com/beritafoto/public/index.php?fuseaction=detik.readfoto&tahun=2007&bulan=02&tgl=08&time=175025&idnews=740040&idkanal=157&id=1 1.5-foot alligator gar found roaming far in the city of Jakarta, Indonesia, during big flood in February, 2007]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alligator gar — Alligator Al li*ga tor, n. [Sp. el lagarto the lizard (el lagarto de Indias, the cayman or American crocodile), fr. L. lacertus, lacerta, lizard. See {Lizard}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A large carnivorous reptile of the Crocodile family, peculiar to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alligator gar — misisipinė kaimanžuvė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Atractosteus spathula angl. alligator gar; Mississippi gar rus. миссисипский панцирник ryšiai: platesnis terminas – trumpasnukės kaimanžuvės …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • alligator gar — noun Etymology: so called from its size : a large freshwater gar (Lepisosteus spatula) of the central United States that attains a length of over 7 feet and a weight in excess of 150 pounds; also : any of certain related Cuban and Central… …   Useful english dictionary

  • alligator gar — noun a species (Atractosteus spatula) of gar native U.S., known for its extremely large (in excess of 200 lbs) size …   Wiktionary

  • alligator gar — a large, heavily scaled fish, Lepisosteus spatula, with an elongated body and long snout, found mainly in shallow weedy fresh water in the southeastern U.S. [1815 25, Amer.] * * * …   Universalium

  • common alligator gar — krokodilinė vėjažuvė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Tylosurus crocodilus angl. common alligator gar; common alligator garfish; crocodile needlefish; fork tailed alligator gar; fork tailed alligator… …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • fork-tailed alligator gar — krokodilinė vėjažuvė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Tylosurus crocodilus angl. common alligator gar; common alligator garfish; crocodile needlefish; fork tailed alligator gar; fork tailed alligator… …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • Cuban alligator gar — Kubos kaimanžuvė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Atractosteus tristoechus angl. Cuban alligator gar rus. кубинский панцирник ryšiai: platesnis terminas – trumpasnukės kaimanžuvės …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • Alligator — Al li*ga tor, n. [Sp. el lagarto the lizard (el lagarto de Indias, the cayman or American crocodile), fr. L. lacertus, lacerta, lizard. See {Lizard}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A large carnivorous reptile of the Crocodile family, peculiar to America. It has… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alligator apple — Alligator Al li*ga tor, n. [Sp. el lagarto the lizard (el lagarto de Indias, the cayman or American crocodile), fr. L. lacertus, lacerta, lizard. See {Lizard}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A large carnivorous reptile of the Crocodile family, peculiar to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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