Tropical gar

Last updated

Tropical gar
Atractosteus tropicus SI.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Lepisosteiformes
Family: Lepisosteidae
Genus: Atractosteus
A. tropicus
Binomial name
Atractosteus tropicus
T. N. Gill, 1863
Atractosteus tropicus range.png
Pacific coastal range in yellow (main range inland in river basins, as well as Caribbean coastal range, not shown)
Synonyms [2] [3]
  • Lepisosteus tristoechus tropicus(Gill 1863)
  • Lepisosteus tropicus(Gill 1863)
  •  ?Atractosteus bocourtiDuméril 1870

The tropical gar (Atractosteus tropicus) is a species of fish from Central America, where it is found in the Pacific and Atlantic drainages from southern Mexico to Costa Rica. [4] In Central America it is known as gaspar and in Mexico it is known as pejelagarto, a contraction of the words "pez" (fish) and "lagarto" (alligator). This gar inhabits a wide range of fresh and brackish water habitats such as rivers, floodplains, lakes and pools, but avoids areas with a strong current. [5] It reaches lengths of up to 1.25 m (4 ft) (although typically less than half that length) and a weight up to 2.9 kg (6.4 lb). [4] The tropical gar looks very similar to the longnose gar in color and markings, but can be distinguished by its shorter, broader snout. The tropical gar's diet consists mainly of cichlids and other fish.

While gar are not widely eaten, there is a traditional Tabasco dish of the same name that uses chili, limes, and salt to cook the animal.

Atractosteus tropicus SI2.jpg
Atractosteus tropicus X-ray.jpg
Conventional and X-ray images

Related Research Articles

Mackerel Pelagic fish

Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly from the family Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment.

Herring Forage fish, mostly belonging to the family Clupeidae

Herring are forage fish, mostly belonging to the family Clupeidae.

Sardine Common names used to refer to various small, oily forage fish within the herring family of Clupeidae

"Sardine" and "pilchard" are common names for various small, oily forage fish in the herring family Clupeidae. The term "sardine" was first used in English during the early 15th century and may come from the Italian island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.

Gar Family of fishes

Gars are members of the family Lepisosteidae, which are the only surviving members of the Ginglymodi, an ancient holosteian group of ray-finned fish, which first appeared during the Triassic, over 240 million years ago. Gars comprise seven living species of fish in two genera that inhabit fresh, brackish, and occasionally marine waters of eastern North America, Central America and Cuba in the Caribbean, though extinct members of the family were more widespread. Gars have elongated bodies that are heavily armored with ganoid scales, and fronted by similarly elongated jaws filled with long, sharp teeth. Gars are sometimes referred to as "garpike", but are not closely related to pike, which are in the fish family Esocidae. All of the gars are relatively large fish, but the alligator gar is the largest; the alligator gar often grows to a length over 2 m (6.5 ft) and a weight over 45 kg (100 lb), and specimens of up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in length have been reported. Unusually, their vascularised swim bladders can function as lungs, and most gars surface periodically to take a gulp of air. Gar flesh is edible and the hard skin and scales of gars are used by humans, but gar eggs are highly toxic.

Lepisosteus is a genus of gars in the family Lepisosteidae.

Longnose gar Species of fish

The longnose gar, also known as longnose garpike or billy gar, is a ray-finned fish in the family Lepisosteidae. The genus may have been present in North America for about 100 million years. References are made to gars being a primitive group of bony fish because they have retained some primitive features, such as a spiral valve intestine, but gars are a highly evolved group of fish, and not primitive in the sense of not being fully developed.

Alligator gar Ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei

The alligator gar is a ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei. It is the largest species in the gar family, and among the largest freshwater fish in North America. The fossil record traces its group's existence back to the Early Cretaceous over 100 million years ago. Gars are often referred to as "primitive fishes", or "living fossils" because they have retained some morphological characteristics of their early ancestors, such as a spiral valve intestine, which is also common to the digestive system of sharks, and the ability to breathe both air and water. Their common name was derived from their resemblance to the American alligator, particularly their broad snouts and long, sharp teeth. Anecdotal evidence suggests that an alligator gar can grow up to 10 ft (3.0 m) in length.

Holostei group of bony fish

Holostei is a group of ray-finned bony fish. It is divided into two major clades, the Halecomorphi, represented by a single living species, the bowfin, as well as the Ginglymodi, the sole living representatives being the gars (Lepisosteidae), represented by seven living species in two genera. The earliest members of the clade appeared during the Early Triassic, over 250 million years ago.

Florida gar Species of fish

The Florida gar is a species of gar found in the US from the Savannah River and Ochlockonee River watersheds of Georgia and throughout peninsular Florida. Florida gar can reach a length over 3 ft (91 cm). The young feed on zooplankton and insect larvae, as well as small fish. Adults mainly eat fish, shrimp, and crayfish. Although edible, they are not popular as food. The roe is highly toxic to many animals, including humans and birds. Gar are mentioned in the John Anderson song "Seminole Wind".

Spotted gar Species of fish

The spotted gar is a freshwater fish native to North America that has an abundance of dark spots on its head, fins, and dart-like body. Spotted gar have an elongated mouth with many needle-like teeth to catch other fish and crustaceans. It is one of the smallest of the seven species of gar found in North America, growing 2–3 ft in length and weighing 4-6 lb (1.8–2.7 kg) typically. Gars have diamond-shaped, thick, enamel (ganoid) scales. The name Lepisosteus is Greek for "bony scale".

The tenspine grouper is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a grouper from the subfamily Epinephelinae which is part of the family Serranidae, which also includes the anthias and sea basses. It is found along the western coast of Mexico and Central America, but is a very rare fish of which little information exists.

The keeltail needlefish, sometimes called the keeled needlefish, is a tropical fish of the family Belonidae. It was described by the French naturalist Charles Alexandre Lesueur in 1821.

Shortnose gar Species of fish

The shortnose gar is a primitive freshwater fish of the family Lepisosteidae. It is native to the United States where its range includes the Mississippi and Missouri River basins, ranging from Montana to the west and the Ohio River to the east, southwards to the Gulf Coast. It inhabits calm waters in large rivers and their backwaters, as well as oxbow lakes and large pools. It is a long, slender fish, brown or olive green above and whitish below. It typically grows to about 60 cm (24 in) and is armored by rows of interlocking, rhomboidal ganoid scales.

Belted cardinalfish Species of fish

The belted cardinalfish is a tropical marine fish in the genus Apogon. They grow up to 6.5 centimetres (2.6 in) in length. Belted cardinalfish are found in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, off Central and South America, inhabiting caves and holes. They are pinkish-red on the dorsal side and yellowish-red on the ventral side. Their eggs are carried in the mouth of the adult as they mature.

<i>Atractosteus</i> Genus of fishes

Atractosteus is a genus of gars in the family Lepisosteidae, with three species.

<i>Enneanectes carminalis</i> Species of fish

Enneanectes carminalis, known commonlfix small tagy as the carmine triplefin or the delicate triplefin in Mexico and the United Kingdom, is a species of triplefin blenny. It is a tropical blenny known from reefs from Mexico to Panama, in the eastern central Pacific Ocean. It was originally described by D.S. Jordan and C.H. Gilbert in 1882, as Tripterygium carminale. Blennies in this species can reach a maximum length of 3 centimetres, and feed primarily off of benthic algae and invertebrates.

Cuban gar Species of fish

The Cuban gar, also known as the manjuarí, is a fish in the family Lepisosteidae. It is a tropical, freshwater species, although it also inhabits brackish water. It is found in rivers and lakes of western Cuba and the Isla de la Juventud. The flesh of the fish is edible, but the eggs are poisonous for humans.

<i>Epinephelus labriformis</i> Species of fish

Epinephelus labriformis, commonly called starry grouper or flag cabrilla is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a grouper from the subfamily Epinephelinae which is part of the family Serranidae, which also includes the anthias and sea basses. It is found in the eastern Pacific Occean.

<i>Hyporthodus mystacinus</i> Species of fish

Hyporthodus mystacinus, the misty grouper, black grouperconvict grouper, eightbar grouper or moustache grouper, is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a grouper from the subfamily Epinephelinae which is part of the family Serranidae, which also includes the anthias and sea basses. It is primarily found in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico with populations present around the Galapagos Islands and Central American coastlines.


  1. Daniels, A.; Maiz-Tome, L. (2019). "Atractosteus tropicus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2019: e.T191025A1967012. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T191025A1967012.en . Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. Froese, R.; Pauly, D. (2017). "Lepisosteidae". FishBase version (02/2017). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  3. "Lepisosteidae" (PDF). Deeplyfish- fishes of the world. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  4. 1 2 Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2018). "Atractosteus tropicus" in FishBase . September 2018 version.
  5. "Atractosteus tropicus". SeriouslyFish. Retrieved 28 September 2018.