Gar (Alligator, long-nosed, spotted)
Lepisosteus spatula, Lepisosteus osseus, Lepisosteus oculatus

CLASS: Osteichthyes
ORDER: Lepisosteiformes
FAMILY: Lepisosteidae

SIZE:
Alligator gar, longest of the three, can attain length of almost 10 feet; long-nosed a length of 6 feet; spotted gar a length of about 4 feet

RANGE:
North and Central America

HABITAT:
Fresh water rivers throughout most of the United States; alligator gar found mostly in southern U.S. and Mexico

DIET:
Wild - Fish
Zoo - Fish

DESCRIPTION:
Elongated body with an armored covering with close-set diamond-shaped scales; head protected by bony plates; elongated jaw with long, sharp teeth. Most species have olive green back and bright silver underbelly.

ADAPTATIONS:
Slow and stealthy movements allow gar to move near prey; snaps head like alligator to catch prey; floor of mouth is flexible and jaw arches can be bent to accomodate large prey fish; "rests" during winter by laying motionless on the floor, not surfacing or eating.

YOUNG:
Greenish eggs are released by the female from mid-may to early June and are fertilized by the males. Young hatch after 14 days.

REFERENCE:
"Grzimek's Animal LIfe Encyclopedia", Vol. 4 Fishes 1, Dr. Bernhard Grzimek