Alligator Gar from Louisiana (Photo by S.David)
Welcome to the new Alligator Gar Technical Committee Webpage. This site is currently under construction after migrating from its previous location. Updates will be coming soon. If you have information on Alligator Gars that you’d like shared on this site, please contact Solomon R. David at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introductory information on Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula
The alligator gar is the largest of four species of gar found in Arkansas. The largest one on record from Arkansas was taken from the White River and weighed 240 lbs. 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 of Mexico states upstream into the Ohio River Valley. However, recent findings suggest a substantial decline in the population and range. In Arkansas, this species was once highly prolific and sought after as a sport fish in the White River, but recent surveys suggest populations are far below historic levels and could be declining further. In some states they are believed to have been extirpated. The Arkansas Field Office, in cooperation with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, is assessing the status of alligator gar in Arkansas and working cooperatively with the members of the multi-state Alligator Gar Technical Committee (AGTC) under the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society to determine their status range wide and to promote their conservation, research, and management.
The ad hoc Lepisosteid Fish Research and Management Committee (LFRMC) consists of multiple state agencies, universities, and nations dedicated to furthering the conservation, research, and management of Lepisosteid species through collaboration and information sharing. One of the primary efforts of the LFRMC is improving our knowledge and understanding of alligator gar and their status. New information is shared through annual meetings of the LFRMC and the AGTC and it is our hope that this website will assist in these efforts by providing a conduit for communication and a repository of information about alligator gar.
The website for the Alligator Gar Technical Committee is under development and will be linked to this site once it is completed. Please contact Lindsey Lewis with questions or comments regarding this site or click below to download an informational brochure or flier.
-Now THAT is a giant alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) skull (upper-jaw)! We were able to skim through several gar specimens on a recent trip to The Field Museum and check out some very impressive fishes! As you can see here, this fish would have been on the very large end of the spectrum for modern-day alligator gars (easily over 8 feet long). Unfortunately there was not a lot of data tagged with this fish (as can be the case with very old specimens), but given the appearance of the skull we can assume it was many decades old.
The genus Atractosteus is often diagnosed from the genus Lepisosteus (the two genera make up Lepisosteidae) by the presence of a prominent second row of teeth in the upper jaw (Lepisosteus has only a minor secondary row in the upper jaw). I have inspected many gars, but this secondary row was GIANT compared to anything else I have seen. Could it be that these teeth grew much larger in these very old, giant specimens? We plan to inspect more preserved specimens and pay close attention to living ones as our gar research continues! More to come from this visit and others!–
This site is dedicated to all things involving gars (members of the family Lepisosteidae, aka garfishes, garpike, lepisosteids), primarily focusing on ecology, natural history, conservation, and current research.
This site is still under construction…updates coming soon!–
~Solomon David (E_americanus)
Solomon R David, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Natural Resources & Environment
University of Michigan
All Images © Solomon R David 2012 or used with permission. No images may be reproduced in any way without direct permission from the author.