Sunday, September 6, 2020

Where are the alligator gar found?

Sometimes, alligator gar can be found in Texas in lakes and rivers, and any gar you see is an alligator gar. There are four distinct species of gar, and several of the gar seen in nature are not alligator gar at all; however, one of them, more common and widely distributed species such as the longnose or spotted gar.

But where in Texas can you find Alligator gar? They can be found to the north in the Red River, the upper Trinity, and the Sulfur River (including Lake Texoma). They can be found in the middle and lower Rio Grande in southwestern Texas, such as the Falcon and Amistad lakes. They are present in Cypress Creek, the Sabine, Neches, Angelina, and Trinity Rivers in East Texas, and in main stem lakes like Caddo, Sam Rayburn, Livingston, and Toledo Bend. There are some residual populations in off-channel reservoirs such as Richland Chambers, where they were present until impoundment.

Where are the alligator gar found?

Torpedo-shaped, normally brown or olive, the body of an alligator gar fades to a lighter grey or yellow ventral surface. Their scales are not like those of other fishes; rather, they are ganoid scales, bone-like, rhomboid-like scales, often with vertical slits, protected by an enamel-like material. Ganoid scales are almost impenetrable, and provide excellent predation safeguard. The upper jaw of an alligator gar has a double row of broad, pointy claws used to impale and retain prey, unlike many other gar species.

Along the Texas coast, alligator gar can be found in almost any river system that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, including the Middle and Lower Brazos, Nueces (including Corpus Christi Lake), Frio (including Choke Canyon Reservoir), San Antonio, and Guadalupe rivers. Alligator gar, like other gar species, is saltwater tolerant and could be located in any Texas coastal bay system, like Galveston, Corpus Christi, Matagorda, San Antonio, and Laguna Madre, as well as the intercoastal canal system.