MANGALDAI: The recovery of an 'Alligator gar' (Atractosteus spatula) — a rare species of fish available only in North America — in a village pond at Mangaldai on Monday created quite a sensation here. According to the information, a group of fisherman found this rare species while fishing in the 'Manuhmara Pukhuri' at village Upahupara on the outskirts of this town.
On seeing this mysterious and unknown fish species, weighing about five kilograms, local people assembled on the bank of the pond. However, none felt the necessity to inform about it to either the Fishery department or the police.
On the other hand, failing to find any local customer for it at the Mangaldai fish market, the fishermen sold it to a villager living in a faraway riverine or saar area of the Brahmaputra.
According to the information, the 'alligator gar' is among the largest freshwater fish species in North America. Fossil records of this group trace its existence back to the 'early Cretaceous era' of over 100 million years ago.
As this species has retained some of the morphological characteristics of its ancestors, the 'Alligator gar' is also referred to as a 'Primitive Fish' or a 'Living Fossil'. Besides, another characteristic of this fish is that its digestive system is very common to that of the shark. The common name 'Alligator gar' is due to its close resemblance with the 'American Alligator'.
It has been learnt that during the floods last year, this species had slipped out from an aquarium when it was cleaned and somehow made its way to the pond. This fish species is reportedly feasts on the local fish species.