Species of the Month

American Alligator
Alligator mississippiensis

Description Large reptile with thick limbs, broad head, and powerful tail that accounts for half of their length. Adults are dark gray to nearly black above and dull white or pale yellow below. Hatchlings and juveniles are black above with six to nine yellow crossbands down the middle of back and yellow vertical bards on the sides of their body and tail.
Size Adult females usually <9, males usually <14, hatchlings usually 8.1-10.4
Habitat Usually found in permanent wetlands and slow-moving rivers, but may also occur in swamps, ditches, temporarily flooded depressions, marshes, and lakes.
Diet Young alligators feed on aquatic insects, crawfish, small fish, and frogs. Adults feed on fish, frogs, turtles, waterfowl, wading birds, and small mammals.
Distribution and Status Alligators occur statewide and their population in Louisiana is estimated at >1.5 million. The species was listed under the ESA as endangered in 1967 due to overhunting, but their numbers recovered in many areas and the American alligator was removed from the list of endangered species in 1987.
Fun facts Alligators have between 74 and 80 teeth at any given time and can replace >2,000 teeth in their lifetimes. Alligators can use tools (e.g., sticks, branches) to lure in their prey. Alligators are quite vocal and have different calls to defend their territories, signal distress, and find mates.

Species Information

2014 Fall Symposium

2014 Fall Symposium Award Recipients

2014 Student Oral Presentation Award.
Eleven students presented their research and Ashlee Minor (Nicholls State University) received first place in the oral presentation contest for her presentation Forested freshwater wetland responses to secondarily treated municipal effluent discharge.


2013 Student Poster Presentation Nickolas Smith (LSU) (left), shown here with LAPB President Dr. Andy Nyman, received first place in the poster contest for his poster “Morphometric sex determination of bald eagles from Louisiana”.


2014 LAPB Student Scholarship Award
Garret Wilkerson (University of Louisiana, Monroe)


Louisiana Association of Professional Biologists Publication Awards

2013-2014 Best Paper Award - Popular: Keri Landry.
Landry, Keri. 2013. Gopher tortoise conservation efforts in Louisiana. Louisiana Wildlife Insider, Summer 2013:8-9.

2013-2014 Best Paper Award - Basic Research: P. Wu.
Wu, P., X. Wu, T.X. Jiang, R.M. Elsey, B.L. Temple, S.J. Divers, T.C. Glenn, K. Yuan, M.H. Chen, R.B. Widelitz, and C.H. Chuong. 2013. Specialized stem cell niche enables repetitive renewal of
alligator teeth. PNAS 110 (22) E2009–E2018.

2013-2014 Best Paper Award - General Conservation: Rebecca Howard and Thomas Michot.
Howard R.J., C.J. Wells, T.C Michot, and D.J. Johnson. 2013. Effects of disturbance associated with seismic exploration for oil and gas reserves in coastal marshes. Environmental Management 54:30-50.

2013-2014 Best Paper Award - Wildlife: Sammy King and B.A. Pickens.
Bradley A. Pickens and S. King. 2014. Multiscale habitat selection of wetland birds in the northern gulf coast. Estuaries and Coasts 37(5):1301-1311.



LAPB Fall 2014 Sympsoium Program with Abstracts

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