FISH ID- Alligator Gar or Musky?

g_smolt

Recreational User
I’ll bow to g-smolt. Where was it caught?

What makes it 100 percent alligator gar?
Ganoid vs cycloid scales - gar scales (ganoid) are interlocking platelets, muskie/pike (cycloid) are overlapping.
Eye position - muskie / pike eye is higher on cranium in relation to upper jaw structure (maxillary), gar it is nearly level with maxillary. *EDIT* - I have misspoken here, but in an "ID positive" way. The Lepisosteidae (gars) have a simple mouth structure and as such do not have maxillae.
Caudal peduncle ("wrist" of tail) is nearly nonexistnt in gar, with the dorsal and ventral fins crowding the caudal fin - pike and muskies have a larger gap between the dorso-ventral fins and caudal.
 
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Clarkman

Huge Fly Guy
WFF Premium
Scales were a dead giveaway, among other things. Side view confirms....gator gar. I've caught plenty longnose & spotteds in my formative years in TX, but never an alligator gar. We would see one or two every year though.....nothing that size, however. That's an old fish! Too bad it won't continue spreading it's genes.
 
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g_smolt

Recreational User
Edited my ID post to correct myself and reflect the fact that gars, as primitive fish, do not have maxillae and that in and of itself is a pretty good tell.
 

long_rod_silvers

WFF Premium
The eye does sit lower on the face/head like a gar-but does seem the nose is not long and thin enough for an Alligator Gar?

A different species of gar? Bigger scales by far than a Musky/Pike, yes?

Kansas "Alligator Gar" closer

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View attachment 298449


Alligator Gar for reference
Snout is much more blunt than I remember. I wonder if it being found in an atypical location resulted in some sort of phenotypic expression that created a slightly irregular appearance?
 

Gyrfalcon21

Active Member
Snout is much more blunt than I remember. I wonder if it being found in an atypical location resulted in some sort of phenotypic expression that created a slightly irregular appearance?
I found this. I guess I confused the slender bill as being that of an alligator gar instead of the longnose

"There are at least four different types of gar in Texas alone: the spotted gar, the longnose gar, the shortnose gar, and, of course, the alligator gar fish.

The different species of gar each have unique traits, but they also share some similarities, such as the trademark elongated snout the alligator gar is known for. According to the state’s Parks and Wildlife Department, the alligator gar is one of the most misidentified fish species around, with residents often mistaking other gar for an alligator gar.

The alligator gar is much wider than other gar and has a distinct short, wide snout. It’s often olive brown in color and comes armored with glistening scales. The alligator gar has gills like other fish, but it also has a swim bladder connected to its gut by a unique duct, which allows it to gulp air from the surface, and live in water that is low in oxygen."
 

long_rod_silvers

WFF Premium
I found this. I guess I confused the slender bill as being that of an alligator gar instead of the longnose

"There are at least four different types of gar in Texas alone: the spotted gar, the longnose gar, the shortnose gar, and, of course, the alligator gar fish.

The different species of gar each have unique traits, but they also share some similarities, such as the trademark elongated snout the alligator gar is known for. According to the state’s Parks and Wildlife Department, the alligator gar is one of the most misidentified fish species around, with residents often mistaking other gar for an alligator gar.

The alligator gar is much wider than other gar and has a distinct short, wide snout. It’s often olive brown in color and comes armored with glistening scales. The alligator gar has gills like other fish, but it also has a swim bladder connected to its gut by a unique duct, which allows it to gulp air from the surface, and live in water that is low in oxygen."
Yes. But even compared to other Alligator Gar that one has a snout that looks shorter and different. Or is it just me?
 

Gyrfalcon21

Active Member
Yes. But even compared to other Alligator Gar that one has a snout that looks shorter and different. Or is it just me?
Maybe that is how he ended up in Kansas : ). Got booted.. Yeah, the snout looked rounded and musky-like, that is why when I saw just the first dorsal view photo only that the head shape was seemingly wrong for my notion of what an alligator gar looked like. I have since run thru a lot of photos of the different species. Really cool creatures.

I have never seen a living gar...wait, I saw some in the very cool Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, but did not pay attention to the morphological differences. Highly recommend that for a visit to anyone in the area.
 

Gyrfalcon21

Active Member

My last post on this. Promise !
I am still having a hard time with how the alligator "beak" is sometimes wide, then often seems really long and more narrow. Maybe like a male Steelhead, the sexes have a different look?

I look this up and see: "Evidence from other gar species suggests that sex determination is possible by examining sexually dimorphic external characters. We evaluated the utility of 13 morphological measurements for determining the sex of Alligator Gars of known gender (n = 117; SL range, 591–1,255 mm). Discriminate analysis identified two influential variables (snout length and caudal peduncle height) as sexually dimorphic. Univariate analyses identified three variables as sexually dimorphic (head length, snout length, and anal fin base length). Sexually dimorphic variables were used with SL to develop a method using serial body ratios (SL/snout length) followed by (snout length/anal fin base length) to identify sex in Alligator Gar to 93% accuracy in males and 72% accuracy in females."

Screen Shot 2021-10-14 at 12.01.54 AM.png


gargargar.jpg
 
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Canuck from Kansas

WFF Premium

My last post on this. Promise !
I am still having a hard time with how the alligator "beak" is sometimes wide, then often seems really long and more narrow. Maybe like a male Steelhead, the sexes have a different look?

I look this up and see: "Evidence from other gar species suggests that sex determination is possible by examining sexually dimorphic external characters. We evaluated the utility of 13 morphological measurements for determining the sex of Alligator Gars of known gender (n = 117; SL range, 591–1,255 mm). Discriminate analysis identified two influential variables (snout length and caudal peduncle height) as sexually dimorphic. Univariate analyses identified three variables as sexually dimorphic (head length, snout length, and anal fin base length). Sexually dimorphic variables were used with SL to develop a method using serial body ratios (SL/snout length) followed by (snout length/anal fin base length) to identify sex in Alligator Gar to 93% accuracy in males and 72% accuracy in females."

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View attachment 298479


Noodling? Looks like he's missing his left arm:D.

cheers
 

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