FLORIDA GAR

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FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Florida Gar

Scientific name

Lepisosteus platyrhincus

FAMILY

Lepisosteidae family

LENGTH

2-4.5 feet

DIET

Mainly fish, also shrimp, crayfish, and insects

Play Video

FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Florida Gar

Scientific name

Lepisosteus platyrhincus

FAMILY

Lepisosteidae family

LENGTH

2-3 feet, up to 4.5 feet

DIET

Mainly fish, also shrimp, crayfish, and insects

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

The Florida gar reaches up to 52” (4 ½’) in length and has a long, toothy snout. The adult Florida gar is covered with brown-olive spots and can be distinguished from other gars by the presence of spots on all fins and a shorter snout. The longnose gar, however, will only have spots on their rear fins and an extremely elongated snout.

RANGE, HABITAT, BEHAVIOR, AND dIET

Florida gar are restricted to Florida and parts of southeastern Georgia. Favored habitats include canals, streams, and lakes with muddy or sandy bottoms with aquatic vegetation. Florida gar will float at the surface, disguised as a log, waiting for prey such as other fish, crustaceans and insects to come within range to snap its head sideways to secure its prey. This species also uses an airbladder to take in air in areas of low oxygen.

FUN FACTS

For most of Florida’s springs, the two gar species you are likely to see are Florida gar and longnose gar. Sometimes these species of gar may be misidentified as “alligator gar,” but the range of the alligator gar is primarily west of Florida, in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. Alligator gar can be seen in the western panhandle of Florida, but gar seen in most of Florida’s springs are unlikely to be the larger and toothier alligator gar.

Gar eggs, or “roe”, are highly toxic to many animals, including humans. When gar hatch, they have an adhesive disc on their faces that keep them attached to the vegetation until they grow to about 1 inch long.

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