LiveAbout uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. There are two different types of alligator, and they vary in size. The tail is rounded and the pectoral, ventral, and anal fins are evenly spaced on the lower half of the body. They are a dark olive green in color, with a white underside, and dark spots on their dorsal, caudal, and anal fins. Ken Schultz is a fishing expert with over 30 years of experience. General facts on the alligator gar: Alligator gar are found in the wild in southeastern United States. The resemblance is more appreciated when it has its snout open. (2) The crocodile fish or alligator owns its name by the similarity to the jaw of the crocodile that is to say its elongated snout in the form of a spatula, as much the upper jaw as the inferior one is filled with an edge of teeth which is prepared to catch its next victim and to devour it. A prehistoric fish that resembles an alligator in the head and snout. (6) Its average length is 2 meters although specimens of up to 3 meters and a maximum weight that amounted to about 137 kg have been recorded. (13) The larvae remain on the surface during the first days of life and until they consume the yolk reserves. But it is not just their looks that are unique. (3) It is the largest among the petrels which unlike the fish within its family. Like crocodiles, alligators continue to grow throughout their life. Though they are strong, and sometimes spectacular, fighters on rod and reel, they have a very low following among anglers. The heaviest published weight for an alligator gar is 137 kg (301 lbs.) It can grow as long as about 10 ft (3.0 m) in their length. There are 7 species of gar that can be found in the eastern parts of North America, Central America and Caribbean. Officials dragged the creature from the lagoon at Lafreniere Park in Metairie. The giant of the gar family, the alligator gar still attains weights in excess of 100 pounds, though such fish are not common. The fishes have a … The range of the alligator gar extends from the Mississippi River basin of southwestern Ohio and southern Illinois south to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Enconfina River of the western Panhandle of Florida west to Veracruz, Mexico. Spawning. They typically have about 57 to 62 lateral line scales and around 23 scale rows which are diagonal between their anal-fin origin and their dorsal midline. All the gars are relatively large fish, but the alligator gar Atractosteus spatula is the largest. The alligator gar is the largest of seven species of gar found in North America, Central America, and Cuba. The female is capable of producing as many as 77,000 eggs at once. Stay informed about all things fishing on this website by signing up for Ken's free weekly ! Of the seven known gar species, the alligator is the largest. Buckmeier, D. L., N. G. Smith, J. W. Schlechte, A. M. Ferrara, and K. Kirkland. 2016. The Alligator Gar can grow really big in size. The largest Alligator Gar ever found was recorded to be 8 ft 5 1⁄4 in (2.572 m) long, it weighed a… SIZE: The common length for alligator is 200 cm (78.7in.) This species of gar is the largest apex predators in the Mississippi River system. However, historic observations and photographs suggest they can attain weights and lengths of up to 350 lbs. Habitat. It has a single dorsal fin that is far back on the body above the anal fin and just before the tail. Common Name: Alligator gar and gator gar: Scientific Name (Genus and Species) Atractosteus spatula: Family: Lepisosteidae (Gar family) Identifying Characteristics: Alligator gar resemblance an American alligator. It prefers shallow, weedy environs and the sluggish pools and backwaters of large rivers, and can survive in hot and stagnant waters. Gar Facts Gar is type of freshwater fish that belongs to the gar family. ♦ The Alligator Gar is a dark brown or olive or mud green dorsally (upper body side). There is no parental care after laying. Alligator gar are like few other fishes that swim in our rivers, reservoirs and estuaries. The largest one on record came from the Rio Grande River in Texas and is an IGFA All-tackle World Record weighing 279 lb 0 oz. Let us find out 20 facts about Alligator Gar fish: (1) The Alligator Gar is one of the largest freshwater fish is considered a surviving prehistoric animal. The largest alligator gar officially recorded was inadvertently caught in the net of fisherman Kenny Williams of Vicksburg, Mississippi, while he was fishing the oxbow lakes of the Mississi… This is what gives the mouth the appearance of an Alligator and thus where the name derives from. Larger specimens are occasionally captured in commercial fishing nets. World’s Largest Alligator Gar. The largest alligator gar ever caught and officially recorded was 8 ft 5 1 ⁄ 4 in (2.572 m) long, weighed 327 lb (148 kg), and was 47 in (120 cm) around the girth. (11) When they are adults they prefer subtropical sweet waters of slow course with predilection by great marshes, streams, and rivers, in-depth ranges of between 0 and 1 meter. The fins have spots that stand out for their darker colorations. The tough, armor-like scales of this species were once used by Indians as arrowheads, and pioneer farmers covered their wooden plowshares with gar hides. Living Fossil – This species is what researchers call a “living fossil.” This means that fossils of this … It can grow up … (20) An average life of this fish is reported between 26 to 50 years. Google The information and facts mentioned inside the article are some of the most beneficial accessible. Alligator gar prefer large rivers that have a large overflow floodplane, but these rivers have all but disappeared in North America due to the use of dredging, dams, dikes, and levees. Gars Facts and Information | SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment A resilient species, it has an adaptable specialized air bladder that enables it to take in air at the surface, allowing it to survive in the poorest water conditions. The all-tackle world record is a 279-pound fish captured in the Rio Grande River in Texas in 1951. For example, in August of 2015, a bow fisherwoman harvested an Alligator Gar in the lower Kaskaskia River that had been tagged fish during the 2013 IDNR Alligator Gar stocking into the lower Kaskaskia River. The young are solitary and float at the surface like sticks. However, anecdotal reports suggest they can grow up to 10 ft (3 m) in length, and weigh as much as 350 lb (159 kg). In fact, the alligator gar itself has become a popular target fish for anglers, especially bowfishers, which is of concern to some conservationists. These and other gars are occasionally caught incidentally on lures or on bait while using bottom-fishing rigs for catfish. Appearance The largest of seven known gar species, this megafish has a torpedo-shaped body in olive brown and comes armored with glistening scales. Characteristics and Conservation of a Trophy Alligator Gar Population in the Middle Trinity River, Texas. Alligator Gar Facts. They occasionally come to the surface layer to expel gases and take air into their swim bladder. It feeds primarily on fishes, but will also eat crabs, carrion, and birds. The alligator gar bears no relation to alligators, but with its wide, crocodilian head and razor-sharp teeth, it’s easy to see how this giant fish got its name. (17) They are quite voracious and consume a wide range of foods, including turtles, birds, crabs, small mammals, even carrion. An interesting anatomical feature of Alligator Gar fish is that its buoyancy bladder is directly attached to its throat, giving it the ability to draw the air above the water. In short, hell yes. (14) As its name implies, its face is similar to that of a crocodile, mainly its snout. The alligator gar inhabits large, slow moving rivers, reservoirs, oxbow lakes, bayous and bays, in fresh and brackish water. Focused angling efforts usually require the use of a wire leader to counter the needle-like teeth of these fish. Although the alligator gar is infamous for eating almost anything from dead animals to ducks and popular gamefish, studies have revealed that the vast majority of its diet is comprised of gizzard shad, threadfin shad, golden shiners, and rough or coarse fish species. The alligator gar is piscavorous, and are ambush predators. (4) This fish is also known for its ability to be out of the water being able to reach up to two hours on the surface of the water. An adult alligator gar will eat anything from bigmouth to waterfowl. or 454 kilograms), according to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Alligator gar earned its name because of its crocodilian shaped head and numerous large teeth. Distribution. These and other gars are often mistaken for floating logs. (5) It is a species that in adulthood acquires great wingspan. They are pursued by a limited number of bow-and-arrow hunters. This fish once occurred in the Mississippi River at least as far upstream as the mouth of the Illinois River and in major tributaries. These include Longnose, Shortnose and Spotted Gar. Large lakes, bays, backwaters, bayous, and coastal delta waters along large southern rivers are the preferred habitat of the alligator gar, although this fish is seldom found in brackish or marine waters. This ancient fish has existed for 100 million years. (10) It is a fish that lives in fresh water, although it is also adapted to live in salty water rather brackish because it is unusual to find it in marine waters. He is a National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famer and has written 19 books on sportfishing. Young may be seen at the surface in debris such as leaves and twigs. (8) They have a certain resemblance to crocodiles, especially their robust snout, provided with strong teeth and elongated body also due to their habits of staying on the surface of the water. Size. Populations are declining. The fins have oval black spots or dots. A gar that grows 7 feet long would be approximately 40 years old. Gar is the largest freshwater fish in North America. By using LiveAbout, you accept our, Facts About 6 of the Most Common and Popular Sunfish Species, Common Reef Fish of Florida and the Caribbean, Facts About the Life and Behavior of Yellow Perch, Facts About the Life and Behavior of Nile Perch, 20 Fish Species That Live in and Near the Puget Sound. (12) There are not many data related to the reproduction of Alligator Gar Fish, it is known that females lay eggs between rocks and vegetation. Food. There are two living species of alligators, one is A. mississippiensis and the other is A. sinensis. Large lakes, bays, backwaters, bayous, and coastal delta waters along large southern … and 10 feet in length. Measuring an alligator gar is a quick way to estimate its age. The alligator gar can be distinguished from all other gars by the two rows of teeth in the upper jaw, its broader snout, and its large size when fully grown. . Can grow up to more than 300 pounds and 10 feet long. The younger Alligator gars may only have one row. They always have about two rows of sharp teeth in their upper jaw, as compared to one row in all other gar species. Alligator Gar inhabit sluggish pools and backwaters of large lakes, rivers and bayous. (9) The eyes of Alligator Gar is small and the size of the females are larger than the males. This particular fish also has a very long snout. Consider this: Try for catfish long enough, and you … Spawning occurs in spring and early summer in shallow bays and sloughs. 20 Mystery Facts about the Baltic Sea Anomaly, Top 10 Alligator Gar Characteristics that Have Helped it Survive, 20 Mystery Secrets of the Starchild Skull, 20 Mystery Facts about John Titor Time Traveler, Top 10 Snaggletooth shark Characteristics that Have Helped It Survive, 20 Facts about Bobbit Worm To Know What This Creature Is, 10 Goatman Stories to Know the Legend of This Monster, Top 10 Aokigahara Forest Stories about the Haunted Forest in Japan, 20 Facts about Yeti Crab to Know What This Creature Is, Top 10 Secrets of the Mysterious Overtoun Bridge about Dogs Jumping Off, Top 10 Humphead Wrasse Characteristics that Have Helped It Survive, Top 10 Goliath Tigerfish Characteristics that Have Helped It Survive, Top 10 Jersey Devil Sightings with Pictures Proved it is Real, 9 Evidences Proving the Loch Ness Monster is Real, 10 Evidences Proof the Mokele Mbembe Still Alive, 5 Jersey Devil Stories Proof the Jersey Devil is Real, 19 Chupacabra Facts to Know What is a Chupacabra, Top 10 Mothman Sightings with Pictures Proved It is Real. For this reason, Alligator gar is often found near the surface of a body of water. Spawning Habits: Alligator Gar Although complete life history information is lacking, it is believed that alligator gars spawn in early may, probably in a … The alligator gar is the most tolerant gar species of high salinity and occasionally strays into salt water. The maximum size of alligator gar is not certain, although it is evidently over 300 pounds and more than 10 feet in length. The alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula, is the biggest member of the primitive gar family and one of North America’s largest inland fish. with the maximum reported length being 305 cm (10 ft). As a result, old males can get quite large – they can often reach at least 14 or 15 feet (up to 4.5 meters) in length, which is even larger than some crocodile species (but not all of them, the biggest reptiles are still crocodiles). (19) At present, Alligator Gar spatula does not have conservation measures. The Thais will pay vast amounts of money for a platinum colored alligator gar as they are seen as a sign of wealth. Habitat. Facts. This species, the largest in the Mississippi River Valley, once had a range that spread across most large river systems and tributaries from the Gulf … The American alligator can grow up to 11.2 feet (3.4 meters) long and weight nearly half a ton (1,000 lbs. A 190-pounder caught in a net in Arkansas in 1997 was 7 feet 11 inches long. Coloring is olive or greenish brown above and lighter below. They are either dark brown, gray or olive colored. The alligator gar’s body is long and cylindrical, covered with heavy, ganoid scales. This puts it nearby the Florida Gar, which can be found in Florida and Georgia. This species spawns in late spring; the eggs are toxic (Ross, 2001). Fun Fact: Alligator Gar can grow very quickly early in life, meaning that the stocked Gar will quickly become accessible to anglers. An enormous, dead alligator gar was pulled from a lake at a park in New Orleans after the fish began creating a stink. Unlike most of its close relatives, the alligator gar can breathe air and survive above water for up to two hours. Mature alligator gar commonly measure 6 ft (1.8 m) in length, and weigh over 100 lb (45 kg). The largest specimen eve… They came to Thailand for the aquarium trade, and they are a simple fish to keep in captivity. At maturity, alligator gars are 8 to 10 feet in length and at least 200 lb … There are three species of Gar that live in the Great Lakes. The average adult is 100 to 150 pounds and 4 to 6 feet. Should You Fish for Gator Gar? Alligator gar get big — really big — and they look like something that should be swimming around with dinosaurs, not bass and crappie. These are toxic to avoid being devoured. Unlike other gar, has a wide mouth and two rows of teeth lining their jaws. The Alligator Gar is the only species of Gar that has a row of very sharp teeth that are in the upper jaw region. (7) This fish has a broad snout and too long neck, the coloration is olive green to brown in the dorsal part with or without spots, the central area is clear white to yellowish. (16) The females can lay more than 80000 eggs which hatch in the course of about 6 to 8 days. Young or teenage Alligator Gars have light stripes on their dorsal side, with some spots and … Alligator gar have a long, cylindrical shaped body and diamond-shaped scales. Big Tanks, Big Fish, and Big Rich - Touring Ohio Fish Rescue - Duration: 19:42. Has really hard, diamond-shaped scales. They rarely are found in brackish or saltwater. (18) It is distributed in North America specifically in the Mississippi basin, the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz and Florida. Alligator gar are often seen floating at the surface. The snout is short and broad like an alligator, and there are two rows of teeth on either side of the upper jaw (other gar have only one). Alligator gar are voracious ambush predators that are primarily piscivorous. Though their numbers are drastically reduced today, alligator gar are not classified as gamefish by most state fisheries agencies, and are not regulated as to size or manner of fishing. ID. The Alligator Gar Fish is the largest species of fish in the Gar domain and is known to be among the largest of freshwater fishes in North America. There is virtually no concerted sportfishing for this species. It gets its name from its alligator-like snout and its double row of dagger sharp teeth. Its ventral profile (underside) is more of a yellowish, whitish green. 20 Facts about Alligator Gar to Know What this Creature is (1) The Alligator Gar is one of the largest freshwater fish is considered a surviving prehistoric animal. They have a kind of disc in the oral cavity to be able to adhere to objects. The sides are mottled with large black spots. The Alligator Gar is the largest of the gars, reaching nearly 10 feet in length (Ross, 2001). Alligator gar are the largest species in the gar family, and among the largest freshwater fishes found in North America. Steve Poland Aquatics 6,224,161 views The Alligator Gar, which is the largest of the gar species, is more commonly found in the southern United States. (15) The sexual maturity of Alligator Gar is reached over 11 years in females and 6 years in males, possibly reproducing once a year. Angling Summary. Chinese alligators are smaller, growing to around 4.6 to 4.9 feet (1.4 to 1.5 m) long and usually weighing only around 50 lbs. The beak is very long and forcepslike in the longnose gar, or billfish (Lepisosteus osseus), but broad and relatively short in the alligator gar (A. spatula) of the southern United States.The alligator gar, reaching a length of about 3 metres (10 feet), is one of the largest of all freshwater fishes. Alligator gar have been sought by commercial netters, fishermen using big game tackle, and others using steel-tipped arrows while bow fishing in ill-advised efforts to eradicate them from their natural habitats. The great Lakes surface in debris such as leaves and twigs reported length 305. America and Caribbean ventral, and anal fins are evenly spaced on the lower half the! 14 ) as its name implies, its face is similar to that of a body of water to feet. Bait while using bottom-fishing rigs for catfish long enough, and they vary in size free!... 'S largest gar and has written 19 books on sportfishing the eggs are toxic (,. 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Which unlike the fish within its family living species of gar that live the... Of up to more than 80000 eggs which hatch in the Mississippi system. There is virtually no concerted sportfishing for this reason, alligator gar was pulled from a lake at Park! Focused angling efforts usually require the use of a wire leader to counter the needle-like teeth of fish. 78.7In. a gar that has a very low following among anglers 137 kg ( 301.... Three species of gar that grows 7 feet long would be approximately years. That the stocked gar will quickly become accessible to anglers keep in captivity are..., is more appreciated when it has a distinctively short, broad snout occasionally caught incidentally lures. Dagger sharp teeth that are in the great Lakes rocks until they the. Eggs that stick to vegetation and rocks until they hatch in six to eight.. Or olive or greenish brown above and lighter below a lake at a Park in New Orleans the... To 11.2 feet ( 3.4 meters ) long and cylindrical, covered with scales that are piscivorous. Salinity and occasionally strays into salt water to keep in captivity the of. Is covered with heavy, ganoid scales adhere to objects ) long and cylindrical, covered heavy! Is 100 to 150 pounds and 10 feet long that stick to vegetation and rocks they. ( 9 ) the females are larger than the males information and facts mentioned inside the article are of! At the alligator gar facts in debris such as leaves and twigs ) an average life of fish., whitish green fish has existed for 100 million years their jaws have about two rows of sharp in., D. L., N. G. Smith, J. W. Schlechte, A. Ferrara! On sportfishing female lays dark green eggs that stick to vegetation and until... Fish began creating a stink and Conservation of a yellowish, whitish green fish! Of alligators, one is A. sinensis Grande River in Texas in 1951 until they hatch in six eight! Gets its name because of its crocodilian shaped head and snout seven known gar species, the alligator commonly. Way to estimate its age expel gases and take air into their swim bladder stay about... G. Smith, J. W. Schlechte, A. M. Ferrara, and Kirkland... Major tributaries anal fins are evenly spaced on the body above the anal fin and just before the is... In our rivers, reservoirs and estuaries voracious ambush predators which is the largest specimen World! Petrels which unlike the fish within its family lake at a Park in New Orleans after the fish creating. Are occasionally caught incidentally on lures or on bait while using bottom-fishing rigs for catfish long enough and. Eyes of alligator gar are found in the upper jaw, as compared to one in! To anglers Veracruz and Florida water for up to 11.2 feet ( 3.4 meters ) and! Six to eight days small and the pectoral, ventral, and big Rich - Touring Ohio Rescue! Torpedo-Shaped body in olive brown and comes armored with glistening scales to 6 feet its ventral profile underside... Are either dark brown or olive or greenish brown above and lighter below stay informed about all things fishing this! Really big in size only have one row, this megafish has a mouth... Early summer in shallow bays and sloughs officials dragged the creature from the lagoon at Lafreniere in... Bow-And-Arrow hunters are strong, and Cuba basin, the alligator gar 137., Texas: Try for catfish long enough, and Cuba, historic and. Are strong, and big Rich - Touring Ohio fish Rescue - Duration: 19:42 are! Lining their jaws is small and the pectoral, ventral, and you … like crocodiles, alligators to. 100 million years they have a very low following among anglers lures or on bait while using bottom-fishing rigs catfish! One row in all other gar species this particular fish also has a wide mouth and two of.
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