Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Genus: Atractosteus, Alligator Gars, Broadhead Gar

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top jaws - 2 rows fangs each side
59-81 large, ornate, outer gill rakers



Elongate; a long conical snout; nostrils at front of snout; large fangs on both jaws, in two rows on top jaw and one on bottom; gill rakers large, ornate and compressed, 59-81 on first gill arch; dorsal (1) and anal fin at rear just before tail; pectoral low on flank; pelvics at about middle of body; fins without spines; vertebral column continues upwards in a fleshy ridge at base of tail fin; body covered with an armor of large, heavy, rhomboidal scales that are attached diagonally to each other by peg-and-socket; 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.

A new world genus found in tropical to subtropical north and central America, with three species, mainly in freshwater but entering brackish water; two species in our region.