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Species: Atractosteus spatula, Alligator Gar

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout short, wide, flat
outer gill rakers 59-66

Atractosteus spatula (Lacepede, 1803)

Alligator Gar

Elongate, robust, round bodied; snout elongate, but broad and relatively short (<60% of head length); nostrils at front of snout; top of skull covered with small round bony tubercles; cheeks covered with numerous plates; large fangs in 2 row on both jaws, side of roof of mouth with another row; gill rakers large, flattened and fan shaped, with multi-pointed cusps on outer edge, 59-66 outer rakers; 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 slightly asymmetrical fan; scales form large rhomboidal plates, attached diagonally to each other by peg-and-socket; 58-62 lateral line scales, 49-54 scales before dorsal fin; median fins with large scales at front of base.

Dark brown to tan above; belly yellowish to white; sometimes dark blotches on tail base and fins.

Reaches over 300 cm, at least 137 kg.

Depth: 0-10 m.

Fresh, brackish and marine inshore waters.

The Gulf of Mexico.

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Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Sea snakes/mammals/turtles/birds
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 300
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 10