Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Lepisosteiformes (Gars)
Family: Lepisosteidae (Gars)

Genus/species: Lepisosteus osseus

Longnose Gar 3079559158_8c3e7931ff_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Very long, cylindrical with dorsal and anal fins set well back on the body, and a large rounded tail fin. Snout more than twice as long as head. Olivaceous brown above and white below. Dark spots on median fins and on body. Ganoid scales. Two to three feet in length not uncommon.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Saint Lawrence River drainage; along Atlantic coast from south of New Jersey to Florida; Southern Great Lakes and Mississippi River system, south to Rio Grande in Texas.
Found in backwaters, large creeks, lakes; may enter brackish water.
They can live in very warm water with little oxygen.

DIET IN THE WILD: Voracious predators. Piscivorous; also feeds on crabs and other crustaceans. Catches prey by swinging jaws back and forth, impaling fish on its sharp teeth.

REPRODUCTION: Sexual maturity for males is reached between 3 and 4 years of age while females at 6 years of age. Spawn in spring depositing eggs in weedy bays on vegetation. Young have a special disk on its head to attach to vegetation, much like pike fry.

PREDATORS: Rarely eaten by fish.

Longnose Gar 8703062067_f828b535c6_b

CONSERVATION: Not federally listed as endangered but but some states list it as threatened because of overfishing and habitat loss.

REMARKS: The roe is poisonous.

Gar can also take in oxygen by swimming to the surface and gulping air into their swim bladders allowing them to live in oxygen poor water..

Family dates back 245 million years

Feeding Cluster WP31