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Longnose Gar Lepisosteus osseus


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Longnose Gar
credit: Steven G. Johnson/CCSA

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Family: Lepisosteidae, Gars view all from this family

Description The longnose gar, Lepisosteus osseus, is a primitive ray-finned fish of the gar family. It is also known as the needlenose gar.

The longnose gar ranges in length from 60–182 cm (24–72 in) and weighs 0.5–3.5 kg (1.1–7.7 lb); The world record is 50.31 pounds, caught in Trinity River, Texas in 1954; FishBase reports a maximum size of 2 m (6.6 ft). Average life span is 17- 20 years. The snout is elongated into a narrow beak containing many large teeth. The gar has a long body, that is shaped like a cylinder, and is covered with diamond-shape scales. It has a long black streak across the body.

The longnose gar is found in rivers and lakes throughout 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, Alabama (Cahaba River system) and anywhere along the Mississippi River. Longnose Gar are found in warm, shallow water with abundant vegetation.

Dimensions Up to 6' (1.8 m); 50 1/4 lbs (22.8 kg).

Warning The roe (eggs) of the Longnose Gar is poisonous.

Habitat Lakes & ponds, Rivers & streams, Estuaries, tidal flats & salt marshes.

Range Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Texas, Eastern Canada.