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Longnose Gar

The longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseous) is a primitive ray-finned fish. The word "gar" is Anglo-Saxon for spear and the word "osseus" is Latin for bony.

Size: Its total body length can be up to five feet.

Life Span: The longnose gar has a life span of 10 to 22 years.

Color: Brownish-green and covered with diamond shaped scales.

Continent: North America

Range: The longnose gar can be found in the eastern half of the United States, as far north as Southern Quebec and extreme Southern Ontario in the Great Lakes and as far south as Northern Mexico. The most concentrated numbers of longnose gars are found throughout the American Deep South, Texas, and anywhere along the Mississippi River.

Habitat: Gar can be found in slow moving water in lakes, rivers, costal back waters and brackish (salty) estuaries. Gars have the ability to tolerate low levels of dissolved oxygen in water by using the gas bladder as a lung. The gas bladder is also used for buoyancy.

Food: The longnose gar survives on small fish, crawfish and other crustaceans. They are predatory by nature and wait for fish to swim by their long snout at which point they strike with a quick sideways snap-and-grab tactic.

Reproduction: Reproduction takes place during the spring. During gestation, the female longnose gar is usually accompanied by 2-4 males at all times.

Fun Facts: Gar fossils have been found in Europe, India, Africa and South America and have family lineage dating back possible 245 million years ago.