The Fish “Alligator Gar” Consider As The State Fish Of Arkansas. The Scientific Name Of Alligator Gar Is “Atractosteus Spatula”. The Arkansas State Fish “alligator gar” Or Atractosteus spatula is a ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei. Alligator Gar is the largest species in the gar family, and also the largest freshwater fishes in North America. The fossil record traces its existence back to the Early Cretaceous over a hundred million years ago.
The body of a State Fish Of Arkansas “alligator gar” is torpedo-shaped, usually brown or olive fading to a lighter gray or yellow ventral surface. Arkansas State Fish Alligator gar is the largest of four species of gar found in Arkansas. The largest individual on record in Arkansas was taken from the White River and was 8 ft. 2 in. long and weighed 240 lbs. “Alligator Gar” species, the largest in the Mississippi River Valley, once had a range that spread across most large river systems and tributaries from the Gulf of Mexico states upstream into the Ohio River Valley.
However, recent findings suggest a substantial decline in population sizes and range of the species. In Arkansas, this species was once prolific and sought after as a sport fish in the White River, but recent surveys suggest populations are far below historic levels and could be declining further. In some states, they are believed to have been extirpated.
The Arkan- as Field Office, in cooperation with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, is assessing the status of Arkansas State Fish alligator gar in Arkansas and working cooperatively with the members of the multi-state Alligator Gar Technical Committee to determine their status range wide and to promote their conservation, research, and management. Over the past 50 years, alligator gar populations have been declining along with their habitat, probably due to the combined effects of loss of annual floodplain flooding during spawning seasons and increased harvesting.
State Fish Of Arkansas Alligator gar are a long-lived species with limited resources and time for reproduction. Like other large fishes, when a female fails to spawn successfully due to poor conditions or is removed from the population it has a much greater effect on population stability than removing a small fish with a shorter life span. A female alligator gar may only have a handful of successful spawns in her lifetime.