Fish in Focus:   Longnose gar, Lepisosteus osseus

Longnose gar, Lepisosteus osseus
Garold W. Sneegas and Aquatic Kansas Images

This image of a Longnose Gar, moving upstream during spawning migration, was taken on June 17, 1995 in a tributary of Mill creek, Wabaunsee Co., KS.

Nikonos II, 20mm lens, f/5.6 1/60, Ikelite Ai & Ms substrobes, Fujichrome Velvia.

The Longnose gar inhabits sluggish pools and backwaters of rivers and impoundments of the Mississippi River drainage from Texas to Florida, north to the Great Lakes, from Eastern South Dakota to the East coast.

Adults migrate up smaller tributaries to spawn. The eggs adhere to the bottom substrate and hatch in 3-9 days. Newly hatched fry have an adhesive organ on their snouts that they use to attach themselves in a vertical position to submerged structure. The fry hang for about 9 days until their yolk sacs are absorbed, then release themselves to begin feeding in the gar's typical horizontal position.

Longnose gar have had a long history of being despised by anglers as a trash fish. In addition to being difficult to deal with when hooked, they are often blamed for driving away sought-after game fish. Today the general public is gradually becoming more aware that gar have an important role in their native ecosystem.

Longnose gar are gaining popularity as a single-species aquarium fish. They have the highest popularity in Asian markets where they are not native.


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