Estimating Spawning Times of Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula) in Lake Texoma, Oklahoma

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Richard A. Snow
James M. Long


In 2013, juvenile Alligator Gar were sampled in the reservoir-river interface of the Red River arm of Lake Texoma. The Red River, which flows 860 km along Oklahoma’s border with Texas, is the primary in-flow source of Lake Texoma, and is impounded by Denison Dam. Minifyke nets were deployed using an adaptive random cluster sampling design, which has been used to effectively sample rare species. Lapilli otoliths (one of the three pair of ear stones found within the inner ear of fish) were removed from juvenile Alligator Gar collected in July of 2013. Daily ages were estimated by counting the number of rings present, and spawn dates were back-calculated from date of capture and subtracting 8 days (3 days from spawn to hatch and 5 days from hatch to swimup when the first ring forms). Alligator Gar daily age estimation ranged from 50 to 63 days old since swim-up. Spawn dates corresponded to rising pool elevations of Lake Texoma and water pulses of tributaries. ©2015 Oklahoma Academy of Science

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Applied Ecology & Conservation