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Biosphere, Fauna and Flora in Cuba Naturaleza
Cuba Naturaleza Biodiversity

Cuban Gar (Atractosteus tristoechus), a rare Gar endemic to Cuba

Cuban Gar (Atractosteus tristoechus)
Scientific name: Atractosteus tristoechus
Common name (english): Cuban Gar
Common name (spanish): Manjuari

The Cuban Gar (Atractosteus tristoechus) is a huge and rare Gar species, is found in the rivers and lakes of the Western Cuba and Isla de la Juventud. Considered an inhabitant of the rivers and the swamps, Manjuarí is one of the more primitive skeletal fish, first vertebrates of the planet and possibly the biological joining between the fish and the mammals.

The cylindrical and lengthened body of the Cuban Gar which is similar to a reptile. Instead of flakes, it is marked by points. The head is flat like a crocodile and the skull has external bones extremely hard. Their mouth is powerfull arm, three lines of small but sharp teeth.

The long body of the Cuban Gar is covered with a natural oil, it can move through the water with astonishing speed, to attack their prey or to escape from their enemies. The species that survives in Cuba is of green dark color, with a maximum longitude of two meters.

The Cuban Gar (Atractosteus tristoechus) is sometimes confused with the alligator gar. It is distinguishable as a separate species, but in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, several authors considered the Cuban gar (A. tristoechus) and the alligator (A. spatula) to be synonyms. Consequently, some authors referred to the alligator gar as "A. tristoechus" or "L. tristoechus," and museum specimens of alligator gars are sometimes labeled as "tristoechus."

 
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© 2014 Nigel Hunt