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Shortnose Gar

Shortnose Gar

Lepisosteus platostomus


Class: Actinopterygii

Order : Lepisosteiformes

Family : Lepisosteidae!/Shortnose_gar


Diagnosis:  The Shortnose Gar is a long, cylindrically shaped fish with a bony head and a single row of very sharp teeth. Their dorsal fin is very posteriorly placed and its skin is formed from interlocking diamond shaped scales producing a surface armor. Color varies from olive-green to brown on the dorsal side and lighten to yellow or white on the ventral side. Spots occur mainly on the rear portion of the body and fins.

 Natural History: This species becomes sexually mature at around 3 years. Spawning takes place in May and June as the water temperatures start to increase. Eggs are stuck onto plants and sticky surfaces in calm, shallow water and they hatch in only 8-9 days. 

Distribution: This species is widely distributed throughout North America in the Mississippi and Missouri River basins. They range from the Gulf Coast north to Montana, east to the Ohio River. 

 Habitat: Shortnose Gar inhabit large Rivers, pools, backwaters, and oxbow lakes. They have a higher tolerance of turbid water than do the other North American Gars.   

Diet:  Shortnose Gars are primarily piscivores eating small fish and minnows, however, they also eat crayfish and a large variety of insects and zooplankton. 

Conservation Status:  Not Threatened



Holland, L.E. 1986. Distribution and early life history stages of fishes in selected pools of the upper Mississippi River. I-lydrobiologia l36:l2l-130



 Warren, M.L., Jr., B.M. Burr, S.J. Walsh, H.L. Bart, Jr., R.C. Cashner, D.A. Etnier, B.J. Freeman, B.R. Kuhajda, R.L. Mayden, H.W. Robison, S.T. Ross, and W.C. Starnes. 2000. Diversity, Distribution, and Conservation status of the native freshwater fishes of the southern United States. Fisheries 25(10):7-29.


Image Credits: 

Shortnose Gar: Photo by Wally McClur

Shortnose Gar Distribution Map: University of Texas ( website has been removed as consulted on 22/SEP/2011).

Submitted by: Kevin W. Morton, July, 2011


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Generated on 2011. This website is continuously updated.
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