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To report an AIS
sighting or to find out
more information call

Questions or comments regarding the state's Aquatic Invasive Species and Ballast Water Management Programs may be directed to:

Allen Pleus
AIS Coordinator
(360) 902-2724

View WAC 220-12-090
Classification - Nonnative aquatic
animal species with photos

Atractosteus spatula (Alligator Gar)

Animal Fish
Family: Lepisosteidae
Classification: Prohibited

Alligator Gar

Gar have long cylindrical bodies, with dorsal and anal fins well back on the body, and long snouts. The swim bladder of gar acts like a primitive lung, allowing them to breathe atmospheric air and survive in low oxygen conditions. They are distinguished from other freshwater species by diamond-shaped interlocking (ganoid) scales. The alligator gar, the largest species, has a broad snout and two rows of teeth on either side of the upper jaw. Alligator gar may weigh as much as 300 pounds. Gar are native to the Mississippi river basin, and feed mostly on other fish and occasionally crustaceans or waterfowl. The roe of gar are poisonous to many animals, including humans.