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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Overhead River Habitat (River Scout)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs from Lake Erie and Lake Michigan drainage south through the Mississippi River basin to Gulf coast tributaries.
  • Found in freshwater in quiet, clear pools and backwaters of lowland creeks, as well as small to large rivers where there is an abundance of rooted aquatic vegetation.
  • Occasionally will enter brackish water.

Physical Characteristics

  • Has a moderately long snout and one row of small pointed teeth along the upper jaw.
  • Olive-brown to black on the back and sides and white to yellowish ventrally. There is a profusion of dark spots on its body, heads and fins.
  • Can reach 59 inches (150 cm) and weigh 10 lbs. (4.4 kg).
  • Growth rate is rapid. By the end of its first year the spotted gar can grow to 9.8 inches (25 cm) in length.

Diet / Feeding

  • Early life stages feed on mosquito larvae and crustaceans. A young gar will eat minnows, while adults prey on larger fish, especially shad.
  • Spotted gar in coastal habitats will consume blue crabs in addition to fish.
  • Known as a voracious predator.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Spotted gar spawns from February to June.  
  • Female will spawn with several males and releases her eggs along the bottom.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • It is a popular game fish throughout much of its range.
  • The lifespan of this species is believed to be about 18 years.

Sources

www.fishbase.org
Fishes of Alabama. Boschung, H. and Mayden, R., pg. 117
McClane’s Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes. McClane, A.J., pg.180
Peterson Field Guides - Fresh Water Fishes. Page, L.M. and Burr, B.M., pg. 30