elongate long conical snout long mouth, large teeth
D & A at rear
tail base in upcurved fleshy crest
heavy polygonal diagonally interlocking scales
C = large fan
Atractosteus tropicus Gill, 1863
Elongate, moderately slender and robust; long conical, relatively broad snout; nostrils at front of snout; operculum nearly as deep as long, angular behind and convex below; large fangs on both jaws, in two rows on top jaw and one on bottom; gill rakers large and flattened, with top edge convoluted, 57-62 on first gill arch; pectoral low on flank; pelvics at about middle of body; dorsal (1) and anal fin at rear just before tail; fins without spines; vertebral column continues upwards in a fleshy ridge at base of tail fin; tail a fan with its top edge covered by bony scales; body covered with an armor of large, heavy, rhomboidal scales, attached diagonally to each other by peg-and-socket; 51-56 lateral line scales, 43-48 scales before dorsal fin; anus bordered by three modified scales; dorsal, tail and anal fins with bony scales bordering first ray, top edge of tail fin covered with bony scales.
Adult: dark to pale brown with numerous dark brown blotches above; a dark stripe along flank; sometimes a dark spot on upper base of tail.
Juvenile: dark above, light below, with a dark stripe along flank; a lower stripe on belly from operculum to anal fin then to tail fin; belly spotted between stripes.
Reaches 125 cm
Depth: 0-10 m
Found in Caribbean and Pacific rivers; enters estuaries of Pacific drainages.
From southern Mexico to Nicaragua on the Pacific coast.