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Southern Company River Scout

Longnose gar

Longnose gar

(Lepisosteus osseus)

The longnose gar is a freshwater fish found throughout the Mississippi River system, as well as in the Great Lakes and eastern Canada. It can be encountered in sluggish pools, backwaters and oxbows in larger rivers and in lakes, usually in vegetated areas. This species is the most abundant and widely distributed member of the ancient gar family.

Sometimes, fertilized longnose gar eggs wind up in the nests of the smallmouth bass, where the male bass is protecting its own developing eggs. Thus, the newly hatched longnose gar will be protected along with the young smallmouth bass.

See if you can pick out these unique looking animals in the overhead river in the River Scout gallery.

Fun Facts

  • The adult longnose gar feeds almost exclusively on fishes, most heavily on shad, herring and bullheads.
  • The young feed voraciously on small crustaceans and insect larvae and grow very rapidly.
  • The longnose gar is reported to live up to 36 years.
  • This gar can grow to about six feet and weigh as much as 50 lbs.
  • Its very long, slender snout contains numerous small, sharp teeth designed to catch and hold its prey.
  • Download full fact sheet

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