Solomon David‘s gars, to be exact! I will keep updates coming on the newly added gars to the exhibits at the John G. Shedd Aquarium (Chicago), but here is a quick photo preview! I am very excited to have several of the gars from my personal and research collection now on display at Shedd Aquarium! Come and see them (and all the other fishes and aquatic life) in Chicago!–
-In preparation for our upcoming aquaculture experiments using Cuban gars (Atractosteus tristoechus) to evaluate sustainable feed, different filtration systems, and various water quality parameters, we had to condition the fish to a variety of feed types. Here you can see a brief video* of the Cuban gars which have been conditioned to take pellet feed (in this case New Life Spectrum fish food).
The group has very recently been moved to the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment Fish Lab where we will begin our sustainable feed experiments in the near future. It is relatively easy to train a large group of fish as opposed to an individual fish since they tend to “learn” from each other!–
*select “HD” for highest quality video
-See photo and link for the story of a giant alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) that was recently bowfished in Texas. This alligator gar is one of the largest in recent history (over 8′ long and over 300 lbs), even though an accurate weight could not be determined. Information is not provided as to whether or not the large female gator gar had already spawned by the time of capture (it was bowfished out of a spawning group); it would be unfortunate to lose those good genes from the pool. It would also be interesting to analyze aging structures (otoliths, scales) from the individual to determine how old this fish was (alligator gars have been aged to over 70 years). This fish at least gives hope that there are still monster alligator gars still out there…and hopefully those beasts are able to evade capture for many more years.
-A great photo from National Geographic: “Down the Hatch” captures an alligator eating a Florida gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus). The caption on the site actually misidentifies the gar as an alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula), but morphology (also locality) definitely indicate L. platyrhincus. We have submitted a message to them with this information (we will see if it is fixed!) Great photograph reGARdless!–
The first complete molecular phylogeny of living gars (Lepisosteidae) was published in the June 2012 issue of Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Abstract and table/figure summaries are available HERE. Researchers and others interested in the full article please contact me at email@example.com. Many thanks to all involved with completing this important analysis!
Massive spawning group of longnose gars (Lepisosteus osseus) in northwest Ohio. Article by Toledo Blade on longnose gars and other fishes observed spawning this season located HERE.
In anticipation of my upcoming trip to Villahermosa (Tabasco state, Mexico), here is a great video put together by colleagues at the tropical gar aquaculture farm (Otot-Ibam) highlighting their gar production. Great shots/sequences of gar development and the culture process. I’ll be presenting at the 4th International Meeting on Lepisosteid Research in mid-June, and we’ll get to tour the farm as well as participate in workshops.
Tropical gar (Atractosteus tropicus) Aquaculture