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Gars: Lepisosteiformes - Behavior And Reproduction, Gars And People, Spotted Gar (lepisosteus Oculatus): Species Account - PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates

SPOTTED GAR (Lepisosteus oculatus): SPECIES ACCOUNT


Gars have a long snout, or bill, and a long, armored body.


Gars live in the freshwaters of eastern North America, as far west as Montana in the United States; as far north as Montana and southern Quebec, Canada; and as far south as Central America and Cuba.


Gars are primarily freshwater fishes, although some have been known to swim into saltwater areas near the ocean shore, such as the salt marshes of Louisiana. Gars can live in aquatic (uh-KWA-tik), or watery, environments of low oxygen content because they use their swim bladder, an internal sac usually used to control position in the water, to breathe air.


Gars eat mainly other fishes, but they also eat frogs and invertebrates (in-VER-teh-brehts), which are animals without backbones, such as crabs and crayfishes. They also sometimes eat garbage dumped into the water. Now and then they even eat other gars. Gars use their long, toothy jaws to grasp swimming prey with quick movements of their heads. Large alligator gars at times feed on water birds.


Gars are not threatened or endangered. The gars that are thought of as harmful to game and commercial fishing receive little sympathy.

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