Alligator gar are grayish green to brown color on their dorsal surface and yellowish or white colored ventrally (Page and Burr, 1991). They may also have brownish spots on their dorsal surface. They are alligator-like in appearance, with their long, slender body, jaws armed with many teeth, and their habit of floating at the water surface (Goddard 2005). Their eyes are small. They have a heterocercal tail. Their swim bladder can function as a lung. The snout is short and broad with two rows of teeth on the upper jaw (Etnier 1993, Knopf, 2002). They are protected by a thick set of ganoid scales (Knopf 2002). This species is the largest of the gars and one of the largest freshwater fishes in North America, growing to nearly 3 meters long and up to 137 kg. Lateral line scales number 58 to 62 (Etnier, 1993).
Range mass: 137 (high) kg.
Range length: 3 (high) m.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: female larger
- Page, L., B. Burr. 1991. Peterson Field Guides: Freshwater Fishes. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Goddard, N. 2005. "Alligator Gar" (On-line). Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Accessed December 03, 2005 at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/AlligatorGar/AlligatorGar.html.