Lepisosteus osseus

Preferred Habitat: sluggish rivers, backwaters, swamps, and impoundments.

Range: all coastal streams, piedmont rivers and reservoirs

Common Size: 2.5-3 feet and 3 to 5 pounds. Approximate Maximum Size: in excess of 21 pounds.

Food Habits: fish and other living or dead animal matter.

Spawning: Eggs are deposited in shallow water during May and June with no attention from adults. Females can deposit in excess of 40,000 eggs.

Miscellaneous: The group of fish known as gars is a small and primitive family of fishes represented in North Carolina by only one of the five North American species, the longnose gar. The roe is poisonous to warm-blooded animals. The fish’s armor-like scales make the gar safe from most predators. The gar is an ambushes predator that makes its captures by lashing out sideways when prey fish approach. Gar fish have many sharp teeth along their bony jaws. Hooking a gar is very difficult unless the bait is swallowed. Longnose gar are rarely taken for their food value. Like the bowfin, gar utilize an air bladder as an auxiliary respiratory organ and can survive low oxygen conditions. They are often observed porpoising at the surface of the water; a behavior associated with their intake of air.