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

2015 Fall Symposium

2015 Fall Symposium Award Recipients

Student Oral Presentation Award

Eleven students presented their research and Kristen DeMarco (LSU) received first place in the oral presentation contest for her presentation “SAV and seed resource availability in coastal marshes across the northern Gulf of Mexico.”.


Christopher Fontenot (ULL), shown here with LAPB President-Elect Dr. Eddie Lyons, received second place in the oral presentation poster contest for his presentation “Wax Lake Delta - Plant Community Dynamics”.

Student Poster Presentation Award

Whitney Kroschel (LSU), shown here with LAPB President-Elect Dr. Eddie Lyons, won first place in the student poster presentation with her poster “An Analysis of Bottomland Hardwood Forest Stand Development in a Hydrologically Altered Floodplain.”.


Eva Windhoffer and Megan Nepshinsky (Nicholls State University), received second place for their poster ““Foraging Movement Patterns of Breeding Royal Terns (Thalasseus maximus) on the Isles Der-nieres Barrier Islands Refuge in Southern Louisiana”.”.


Louisiana Association of Professional Biologists Publication Awards

Best Paper Award - Popular: Mike Carloss, Donald M. Baltz, Bill Delany, Marty Floyd, Ted Joanen, Scott Nisbit, William G. Vermillion, and Paul Yakupsack.
An Open Letter to the Citizens of Louisiana, www.mississippiriverdelta.org

Best Paper Award - Basic Research: Ruth M. Elsy
K.L. Sweaza, J.P. McMurtry, R.M. Elsey, P. Redig, and E.J. Braun. 2014. Comparison of metabolic substrates in alligators and several birds of prey. Zoology 117: 253-260.

Best Paper Award - Fisheries: Megan K. La Peyre
M. La Peyre, J. Furlong, L.A. Brown, B.P. Piazza, and K. Brown. 2014. Oyster reef restoration in the northern Gulf of Mexico: Extent, methods, and outcomes. Ocean & Coastal Management 89:20-28.

Best Paper Award - Wildlife: Ruth M. Elsey
R.M. Elsey and J.W. Lang. 2014. Sex Ratios of Wild American Alligator Hatchlings in Southwest Louisiana. Southeastern Naturalist 13(2):191-199.



LAPB Fall 2015 Sympsoium Program with Abstracts

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