Diet Comparison of Four Sympatric Gar Species

Shortnose Gar (Lepisosteus platostomus) that was captured in a multifilament gill net.

In 2009, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) committed to the reintroduction of Alligator Gar to western Kentucky. The initial project consisted of a 5-year program to stock age-0 Alligator Gar into selected rivers. All stocked fish were implanted with a 2.2 mm microwire tag near the dorsal fin to aid in identification. The microwire can be used to identify hatchery-raised fish at a later date and help provide evidence of natural reproduction in years to come. The aim of these reintroductions is to return this predator to sustainable populations throughout its entire native home range.

This research project aimed to evaluate the diet overlap of the reintroduced Alligator Gar and 3 close relatives that inhabit the same waters of the Lower Mississippi River. We used gill nets to collect gar, then examined the stomach contents to compare the diets of the four sympatric gar species.

If you are interested in this project, you can find more information you can access my thesis here.

Bradley M. Richardson
Bradley M. Richardson
Research Fish Biologist

My research interests include aquatic ecology, species interactions, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and freshwater fishes.

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