Lepisosteus osseus – Longnose Gar – Profile, Description

lepisosteus osseus
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The longnose gar, scientific name Lepisosteus osseus, also referred to as needlenose gar, longnose garpike, and billy gar is a ray-finned fish within the family Lepisosteidae. The genus might have been current in North America for about 100 million years.

Lepisosteus osseus, Longnose Gar profile

There are references to gars being a primitive group of bony fish as a result of they’ve retained some primitive options, akin to a spiral valve gut, however, gars are an extremely advanced group of fish, and never primitive within the sense they don’t seem to be absolutely developed.

These primitive fish are distinctive for his or her elongated, torpedo-shaped bodies and their overly lengthy snouts that are almost twice the size of their heads and stuffed with a row of sharp enamel.

Lepisosteus osseus has thick, overlapping scales like armor, and develop to over 6.5 ft lengthy, making them formidable ambush predators within the gradual transferring rivers, bayous, and reservoirs of Jap United States.

Lepisosteus osseus will additionally gulp air when obligatory, permitting them to outlive in low oxygen and better salinity water than most fish.

Lepisosteus osseus has got an olive-brown to inexperienced torpedo-shaped physique armored with ganoid scales, elongated jaws that type a needle-like snout almost 3 times the size of its head, and a row of quite a few sharp, cone-shaped enamel on all sides of the higher jaw.

Lepisosteus osseus sometimes inhabits freshwater lakes, brackish water close to coastal areas, swamps, and sluggish backwaters of rivers and streams.

Lepisosteus osseus will breathe each air and water which permits them to inhabit aquatic environments which might be low in oxygen.

Longnose gar or Lepisosteus osseus is discovered alongside the east coast of North and Central America and varies as far west within the US as Kansas, Texas, and southern New Mexico.

It’s the sole species of the household Lepisosteidae that’s present in New Mexico. Their populations are steady and in some areas ample within the inside parts of its vary.

longnose gar, Lepisosteus osseus, needlenose gar, longnose garpike, billy gar

Popular names on Lepisosteus osseus

Essentially the most accepted frequent title for Lepisosteus osseus in English is longnose gar. Another frequent English names are Lengthy-nosed gar, longnose garpike, bony pike, frequent gar-pike, fish gar, billy gar, billfish, needlenose gar, pin nostril gar, scissorbill, and scissorlips.

Different frequent names include pejelagarto (Spanish), gaspar picudo (Spanish), Garpique longnez (French), lepisostee osseuse (French), lauhauki (Finnish), dlinnorylyi pantsirnik (Russian), gemeiner langschnauziger (German), knochenhecht (German), langnasen-knochenhecht (German), kostlin americky (Czech), kostlin dlouhonosy (Czech), kostlin obecny (Czech), langhosad bengadda (Swedish), and langsnudet pansergedde (Danish).

Lepisosteus osseus Meals

A younger longnose gar, Lepisosteus osseus, needlenose gar, longnose garpike, or billy gar, begin feeding after about 10 to 11 days after hatching. Younger gars start feeding on small crustaceans akin to copepods, and bugs.

They rapidly swap over to a weight-reduction plan of primarily fish. In Lake Texoma (Oklahoma), the younger longnose gar weight-reduction plan consisted of over 80% inland silversides (Menidia beryllina) and fewer than one p.c recreation fish.

As adults longnose gar are primarily piscivores consuming a wide range of fish species, with their major meal species altering from space to space.

Main meals fishes in lots of inland areas embody sunfishes of the household Centrarchidae and shiners of the family Cyprinidae.

In Florida longnose gar, or Lepisosteus osseus feeds totally on gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), and bullhead catfish. In coastal areas, longnose gars eat giant numbers of menhaden.

Lengthy nostril gars are ambush predators lying in wait or slowly stalking their prey. Longnose gars are primarily floor-oriented feeders.

The gars feed each day and evening however are extra lively as evening feeders.

Gars assault their prey from the facet. The wait till the prey is in vary then lunge and thrash their head backward and forward, impaling their prey on their lengthy needle-sharp enamel. They then maneuver the prey as a way to swallow it headfirst.

longnose gar, Lepisosteus osseus, needlenose gar, longnose garpike, billy gar

Lepisosteus osseus Habitat

Longnose gars normally occupy lazy gradual transferring streams, rivers, reservoirs, bayous, and estuaries. It prefers the sluggish backwater swimming pools to the transferring stream.

Adults might be discovered floating close to the floor of swimming pools and sluggish streams.

The younger wants to cover and hunt in backwaters around submerged vegetation. Throughout mating season although grownup longnose gar makes quick migrations up rivers and reservoirs into small clear fast transferring streams as a way to spawn and lay eggs.


Fossils of the genus relationship again 100 million years have been present in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Within the US, fossils of the fashionable species date again to the Pleistocene have been they have been found within the Kingsdown Formation in Meade County, KS, and date again to the Irvingtonian (1.8 – 0.Three MA).

Longnose gar, or Lepisosteus osseus is present in Central America, Cuba, North America, and the Isla de la Juventud.

The longnose gars vary extends from Central Florida up the Jap Seaboard to the St Lawrence River in Quebec. It happens in the entire Nice Lakes settle for Lake Superior.

It happens within the decrease in the Missouri River basin and the Mississippi River drainage space.

The longnose gars very extend south in rivers alongside the Gulf of Mexico from Florida all the way in which down into the Rio Grande River basin in Southern Texas and Northern Mexico.

The longnose gar enters brackish water sometimes within the Mississippi Sound, Cellular Bay, and Perdido Bay.

longnose gar, Lepisosteus osseus, needlenose gar, longnose garpike, billy gar

Longnose gar or Lepisosteus osseus is steadily present in contemporary water within the jap half of the USA, however, some gar has been present in salinities as much as 31 ppt. Their microhabitats encompass areas close to downed timber, stone outcrops, and vegetation.

Lepisosteus osseus Reproduction

Reproduction takes place in the course of the spring, from April to August relying on geographic area. Longnose gars migrate up into small, clear, sooner transferring streams as a way to mate. Spawning happens over gravel or weedy areas.

Throughout spawning longnose gar congregate collectively in small streams. One feminine is normally accompanied by 2 to four males, which swim alongside facet at irregular intervals.

Eggs are demersal and adhesive, they sink to the underside after being launched from the feminine and fertilized and fix to the substrate. The eggs hatch in 3-9 days relying upon water temperature.

American alligators are a possible predator of alligator gar, Picture courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

American alligators are a possible predator, Picture courtesy U.S. Geological Survey


Bigger fish predate younger longnose gars. As a consequence of bigger dimensions and ganoid scaling the grownup longnose gar has only a few predators.

In southern areas of the longnose gars vary it’s preyed upon by the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

lepisosteus osseus


Gars are gradual rising fishes that might be comparatively lengthy lived. Newly hatched gars are Eight to 10 mm in size.

Hatchlings connect themselves vertically to submerged objects by an adhesive disc on their snout.

Younger stays hooked up by the adhesive disc till the yolk sac is absorbed (about 9 days).

After the absorption of the yolk sac, the younger is in a position to stay horizontal, take their first aerial breath, and start feeding. Feminine gars get bigger and stay longer than male gars do.

It takes feminine gars 6 years to succeed in sexual maturity they usually can stay as much as 22 years old.

Male gars mature at Three to four years of age and infrequently stay longer than 11 years. Longnose gar can attain sizes as much as 6 ft 8 in (2 m) and 35 lbs. (16 kg).

Lepisosteus osseus Ecology

The commonest prey of longnose gar are small fish and infrequently bugs and small crustaceans; they principally feed in the evening.

Their predominant opponents are different garfishes, and it’s considerably frequent for big gar to feed on smaller ones.

Traditionally, Native Individuals and early colonists harvested longnose gar as a predominant meal supply.

Over time, longnose gars have gained in reputation as a sportfish relatively than as a meal supply; nevertheless, some individuals contemplate gar meat a delicacy.

Grownup longnose gar is thought of top predators of their aquatic behavior and has few predators which embody people, and the American alligator within the southern reaches of their vary.

They’re most weak to predation when they’re younger, and are preyed upon by different garfishes, bigger fishes, birds of prey, snapping turtles, and water snakes.

As a consequence of giant enamel, the longnose gar poses a risk of cuts of laceration, so warning needs to be taken throughout dealing with this species. The eggs are toxic to people and shouldn’t be eaten.

Life history

Longnose gar has a mean lifespan of 15–20 years with a most reported age of 39. This lengthy lifespan permits the feminine to sexually mature around six years previous. Males mature sexually as early as two years of age.

Longnose gar is sexually dimorphic; the females are bigger than the males in physique size, weight, and fin size.

They typically have a clutch dimension near 30,000, relying on the burden to size ratio of the females; bigger females bear bigger clutch sizes. They spawn in temperatures near 20°C in late April and early July.

Eggs have a poisonous, adhesive coating to assist them to persist with substrates, and they’re deposited onto stones in shallow water, rocky cabinets, vegetation, or smallmouth bass nests.

Their hatch time is seven to 9 days; younger gar keeps in vegetation in the course of the first summer season of life.

Longnose gar or Lepisosteus osseus attains a typical size of 28-48 in (0.71-1.2 m) with the most size around 6 ft (1.8 m) and 55 lb (25 kg) in weight.

Lepisosteus osseus Conservation

The longnose gar has been extirpated in among the peripheral areas of the northern components of its vary. It’s common and safe within the inside parts of its vary even ample in lots of areas.

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