Left to right : Tropical gar, Alligator gar, Cuban gar


Atractosteus tropicus – Tropical Gar
Atractosteus tristoechus – Cuban Gar
Atractosteus spatula – Alligator Gar


The Atractosteus genus is thought to have branched off the Lepisosteus gars, making them the "newer" genus of Lepisosteids. There is much interest in the aquaculture of Atractosteus gars, largely because of their rapid growth rate and large adult size.


Atractosteus is noted to have shorter, more numerous and ornate gill rakers, whereas Lepisosteus has thinner more elongate gill rakers.

Physical DescriptionEdit

An key difference between both genus of Lepisosteids is that Atractosteus gars have broader snouts and are stockier when compared to Lepisosteus gars. Another important trait to note is that while ALL gars have two rows of teeth in the upper jaw, the second row is only prominent in Atractosteus gars.

A stritation pattern is also more commonly present in Atractosteus gars then Lepisosteus.
Just based on morphology one can see that the Atractosteus species are more closely related to each other than to the Lepisosteus genus.

In captivityEdit

All Atractosteus gars are very sensitive to quickly fluctuating water parameters. It is not just the Cuban but the whole genus. Atractosteus gar thrive in static conditions and quick change in Temp, pH, hardness, Ammonia, Nitrite level can be hazardous to their health. In general Atractosteus gars are resilient but they do not appreciate quick changes in anything.

Atractosteus gars are known to be more aggressive than Lepisosteus gars.


Florida Museum of Natural History

Mendoza Alfaro, R., C. Aguilera Gonzalez, and A. M. Ferrara. 2008. Gar biology and culture: status and prospects. Aquaculture Research 39:748-763.


Author(s): Richard Kik IV (, Solomon David (, Alexander Eng (
Photos by: Alexander Eng, Rachael Oleary (
Edited, Arranged, and Referenced by Alexander Eng

*** All Information Copyright 2011 the authors. All Images Copyright 2011 the correspondingly credited and used with permission.

No material (listed above) may be reproduced without permission.

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