Family : Gars ; Occur in sluggish pools , backwaters and oxbows of medium to large rivers , and lakes . Usually found near vegetation. Occasionally found in brackish waters. Spawning occurs in freshwater and possibly slightly brackish water. Migrate up rivers during the spawning season . Eggs and larvae are demersal and adhesive . A voracious predator , feeding on various fishes and crustaceans. The roe is poisonous.
- What's in a name? Longnose gar (Lepisosdeus osseus) says a lot about this seemingly Pinnochio-nosed fish. The scientific name , Lepisosdeus is Greek, meaning "bony scale," and osseus is Latin, meaning "of bone." Other names commonly used for this primitive pike-like fish are needlenose gar, billfish and billy gar.
- Very young gar have a stick disk on the snout tip and attach to gravel , plants , and floating objects to stay in one place in river currents .
- During the summer months when the oxygen content of the water has dropped, the longnose gar can often be seen snapping for air at the surface. In oxygen-poor water, the gar can surface as often as six times in 10 minutes. It turns somewhat on its side and inflates an air bladder through its gill slits , making a gurgling sound . Then it swallows a large quantity of air with its mouth , stretching the jaws far out of the water and pressing the air into the swim bladder . Gar can use this air to supplement oxygen obtained through their gills .
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in Czech:
Kostl, Kostlín americký, Kostlín dlouhonosý, Kostlín obecný
Common Names in Danish:
Langn, Langnæset pansergedde, Langsnudet pansergedde
Common Names in Dutch:
Common Names in English:
Gar, Long-nose gar, Long-nosed gar, longnose gar
Common Names in Finnish:
Common Names in French:
Brochet Lance , Brochet lance á long nez, Garpique longnez, lÃ©pisostÃ© osseux, Lépidostée osseuse, lépisosté osseux, Lépisostée osseuse, Lépisostée osseux
Common Names in German:
Alligatorfisch, Gemeiner Knochenhecht, Gemeiner Langschn, gemeiner Langschnäuziger, Knochenhecht, Langnasen-Knochenhecht, Schlanker Knochenhecht
Common Names in Italian:
Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:
Common Names in Polish:
Niszczuka a. luskost
Common Names in Portuguese:
Bicudo de focinho comprido
Common Names in Russian:
Common Names in Spanish:
Cat, Catán, catán aguja, catÃ¡n aguja, Gaspar picudo, Lepis, Lepisósteo óseo, Pejelagarto
Common Names in Swedish:
Species Lepisosteus osseus
and Snout: Snout dorsal-ventrally flattened. Prominent
beak-like snout forms mouth, which is terminal
to slightly subterminal
small but obvious needle-like teeth. No barbels
longnose gar has a longer
mouth than the shortnose gar. Body Pattern
on posterior portion of body, overlying dark
gray, brown, olive or tan flanks. Specimens that are under 500 mm
may have a broad dark lateral stripe
; this breaks
up into blotches
and fades in the larger specimens. Undersides white with dark freckling
on chin. Median fins
with diffuse spots. The spots are more pronounced toward the back
of the fish, and lighter toward the front. The background color of
the longnose gar may be a little lighter than that of the shortnose
gar. There is considerable variation
; some individuals are a light
gray, and some are almost black. It is fully scaled
with thick ganoid
. Body Shape
: The body is long, cylindrical, and
. Typical adult
size is 700-1000 mm TL, with a maximum of about
1800 mm (35 inches).
Fins : Heterocercal tail, but rounded . In older adults it is not as elongated at the top. Single dorsal fin with no spines, located on the posterior portion of the back. Pelvic fins abdominal . No adipose fin . The anal and dorsal fins are set far back on the body toward the tail.
Distinguishing characteristics: The long, cylindrical, rigid body shape and long, beak-like snout distinguish the gars . In top view the length from the eyes to the tip of the mouth is fifteen times the minimum width , no spots on top of head or snout, but sometimes a few on the jaw. Lateral line scales 60-66, predorsal scales 47-55, transverse scales 17-24. See also similar species information.
Breeding adults: Males very dark, almost completely black.
Juveniles : Juveniles have a very pronounced dark lateral stripe, dramatic coloration , and a long filament on the tail.
Distinctive Features: Gars can be distinguished from other fish by their long slender tubular bodies. Gars are a primitive group of bony fish that still retain a spiral valve intestine, which is a primitive feature of the digestive system commonly associated with elasmobranchs. Gars bodies are covered with rhomboidal ganoid scales , which are composed of two layers. The outer layer is of ganoin and the inner layer is made of isopedine , both layers are penetrated by blood vessels . These scales enterlock to produce a virtual suit of armor leaving the gars with few natural predators . Gars also have a highly vascularized swim bladder connected to the pharynx by a pneumatic duct . This enables them to gulp air , which aids in facultative air breathing. This allows gar to breathe when there are very low oxygen levels in the water. The longnose gars can be distinguished from any other gar by its elongate snout more than twice the length of the rest of their head. The longnose gar can be distinguished from the alligator gar because it has only 1 row of sharp, villiform teeth in the upper jaw.
Dentition: The longnose gar has an elongate snout with a single row of long sharp villiform teeth . These teeth and long snout enable the gar to thrash its head to capture and hold prey .
The longnose gar is olivaceous brown to green dorsally fading to pale yellow or white ventrally. Color of specimen is dependent on the clarity of the water it is in. Longnose gar in clear water have a much deeper green color than those in murky water which will be more brown and drab. The longnose gar has spots on its dorsal anal and caudal fins. It also has spots on the dorsum of the body that do not extend onto the head . The margins of the scales and the spaces in between the scales are black. The young have a black stripe along the sides and are brown dorsally and white ventrally.
are slow growing fishes
that are relatively long lived. Newly
hatched gars are 8 to 10 mm in length
to vertically to submerged objects by an adhesive disc
on their snout.
Young remain attached by the adhesive disc until the yolk sac
absorbed (about 9 days). After the absorption
of the yolk sac the
young are able to remain horizontal, take their first aerial
and begin feeding. Female gars get larger and live longer
gars do. It takes female gars 6 years to reach sexual maturity and
they can live up to 22 years old. Male gars mature at 3 to 4 years
of age and rarely live longer than 11 years. Longnose gar can reach
sizes up to 6 ft
8 in (2 m
) and 35 lbs
. (16 kg
May live as long as 36 years in the wild, 30 years in captivity.
Longnose gars usually occupy lazy slow moving streams , rivers , reservoirs , bayous , and estuaries. It prefers the sluggish backwater pools to the moving stream. Adults can be found floating near the surface of pools and sluggish streams. The young prefer to hide and hunt in backwaters around submersed vegetation. During mating season though adult longnose gar make short migrations up rivers and reservoirs into small clear quick moving streams in order to spawn and lay eggs .
Biome: Marine .
Young longnose gar start feeding after about 10 to 11 days after
. Young crustaceans such as copepods
, and insects. They quickly
switch over to a diet
of primarily fish. In Lake
the young longnose gar diet consisted of over 80% inland silversides
(Menidia beryllina) and less than one percent game fish
. As adults
longnose gar are primarily piscivores
eating a variety of fish species,
with their primary food
species changing from area to area. Primary
in many inland areas include sunfishes
of the family
Centrarchidae, and shiners of the family Cyprinidae. In Florida longnose
primarily on gizzard
shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), and bullhead
catfish. In coastal areas, longnose gars consume large numbers of
Long nose gars are ambush predators laying in wait or slowly stalking their prey . Longnose gars are primarily surface oriented feeders . The gars feed both day and night but are more active as night feeders. Gars attack their prey from the side. The wait until the prey is in range then lunge and thrash their head from site to side impelling they prey on their long needle sharp teeth. They then maneuver the prey in order to swallow it head first.
Reproduction takes place during the spring , from April to August depending on geographic region. Longnose gars migrate up into small, clear, faster moving streams in order to mate. Spawning occurs over gravel or weedy reas. During spawning longnose gar congregate together in small streams. One female is usually accompanied by 2 to 4 males, which swim along side at irregular intervals. Eggs are demersal and adhesive, they sink to the bottom after being released from the female and fertilized and attach to the substrate. The eggs hatch in 3-9 days depending upon water temperature .
Larger fish predate young longnose gars . Due to larger size and ganoid scaling the adult longnose gar has very few predators . In southern regions of the longnose gar's range , it is preyed upon by the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Bateson, 1885
- Cuvier, 1812
- Jawed Vertebrates
- Huxley, 1880
- Class: Osteichthyes () - Huxley, 1880
- Superclass: Osteichthyes () - Huxley, 1880
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata () - auct. - Jawed Vertebrates
- Subphylum: Vertebrata () - Cuvier, 1812 - Vertebrates
- Phylum: Chordata () - Bateson, 1885 - Chordates
- Infrakingdom: Chordonia () - (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Esox osseus • Esox osseus Linnaeus • Esox osseus Linnaeus, 1758 • Esox viridis Gmelin • Lepidosteus ayresii Duméril • Lepidosteus bison Dekay • Lepidosteus clintonii Duméril • Lepidosteus copei Duméril • Lepidosteus crassus Cope • Lepidosteus elisabeth Duméril • Lepidosteus gracilis Richardson • Lepidosteus harlani Duméril • Lepidosteus horatii Duméril • Lepidosteus lamarii Duméril • Lepidosteus leptorhynchus Girard • Lepidosteus lesueurii Duméril • Lepidosteus louisianensis Duméril • Lepidosteus milberti Duméril • Lepidosteus mulberti Duméril • Lepidosteus otarius Cope • Lepidosteus piquotianus Duméril • Lepidosteus rostratus Cuvier • Lepidosteus smithi Duméril • Lepidosteus smithii Duméril • Lepidosteus thompsoni Duméril • Lepidosteus thompsonii Duméril • Lepidosteus treculi Duméril • Lepidosteus troostii Duméril • Lepisosteus gavial Lacepède • Lepisosteus gavialis Lacepède • Lepisosteus gracilis Richardson • Lepisosteus huronensis Richardson • Lepisosteus lineatus Thompson • Lepisosteus longirostris Rafinesque • Lepisosteus osseus • Lepisosteus oxyurus Rafinesque • Lepisosteus treculii Duméril • Macrognathus loricatus Gronow • Sarchirus argenteus Rafinesque • Sarchirus vittatus Rafinesque
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 23-Mar-1994
Fish Name Mouth Body Pattern Lateral Line Scales Predorsal Scales Transverse Scales Similarity Index Longnose Gar Narrower snout with length about 15 times the width No spots on top of head or snout, but sometimes a few on jaw 60-66 47-55 17-24 N/A Shortnose Gar Beak-like with numerous sharp teeth. In top view the length from the eyes to the tip is about 5 times the minimum width No spots on top of head, snout or jaw 55-64 (usually more than 58) 45-54 20-23 Moderately similar Spotted Gar Not as long and narrow, with length about 5 times width Diffuse, dark, eye-sized or larger spots on top of head, snout and jaw (may be hard to see on head and snout in turbid or stained water) 54-59 45-54 (usually less than 50) 17-24 (usually less than 21) Moderately similar
Members of the genus Lepisosteus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 6 species and subspecies in this genus:
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal December 09, 2007:
- Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian Museum of Nature Fish Collection
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, Canadian Museum of Nature - Fish Collection
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, NOAA HML Tidal Creek Database
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity - Fish Collection
- Marine Science Institute, UCSB, Paleobiology Database
- Museum national d'histoire naturelle, Ichtyologie
- Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, MCZ Fish Collection
- Royal Ontario Museum, Fish specimens
- Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fish Collection
- University of Kansas Biodiversity Research Center, Fish Collection
- University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History, Fish specimens
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 130512
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Fis-23584
- Fishbase Species ID: 1076
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 14582629
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 161094
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: AFCBA01020
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 15644
- Jones, P.W., F.D. Martin and J.D. Hardy, Jr. (1978). Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of eggs, larval and juvenile stages. Vol. 1. Acipenseridae through Ictaluridae. U.S. Fish Wildl. Ser. Biol. Serv. Program FWS/OBS-78/12. 33 ... [back]
- New Mexico Wildlife. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Version of April 24, 2009. [back]