Alligator Gar - Atractosteus spatula


fish: alligator gar
Duane Raver/USFWS
Click on picture to enlarge

Oklahoma Distribution – Primarily the southeastern one quarter of the state, as far west as Lake Texoma.

Description - A potentially very large gar (world record over 300 pounds, not from Oklahoma) but has short, broad snout with two rows of teeth on the upper jaw.  Small alligator gar may be distinguished from other gar by the blackish band along the midside and a narrow, white stripe along midline of back. (Click on picture above)

Habitat – The alligator gar prefers warm water and inhabits large sluggish rivers such as the Red River that flows into Lake Texoma.  There has been a decline in the numbers of alligator gar due to impoundments that have taken away valuable spawning habitat.

Natural Food Sources – Feeds primarily on fish but is known to eat ducks and other water birds.

Spawning – Although complete life history information is lacking, it is believed that alligator gar spawn in early May in Oklahoma, probably in a manner similar to other gar.

Facts – Sought by anglers and bowfishermen in some areas because of its potentially huge size.  Also, acceptable food and harvested by some commercial fishing enterprises.