The Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit is temporarily closed through Fall 2022.

Longnose Gar

(Lepisosteus osseus)

Overview

The longnose gar is an elongated fish with a long, thin snout full of needle-like teeth perfectly suited for catching prey. Longnose gar are distinguished from other gar species by their long snout.

They are olive-brown or deep green along the back and upper sides, with silver-white bellies and a few irregular large, dark spots. The juveniles display scattered spots over both sides, the upper and lower jaws, and on their ventral fins.

A Note From the Caretaker

Longnose gar are able to use their long, bony rostrums like chopsticks to pick up small food items off the bottom of their habitat.

Quick Facts

Learn more about longnose gar! Did you know that gar are known as living fossils? Their remains have been found dating back to the Cretaceous period.

Most gar species can be found throughout the Mississippi River basin and its tributaries, and along the waterways of the East Coast in large, slow-moving backwaters and rivers. Alligator gar are found in the states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Mississippi River. This species commonly inhabits brackish water.

Primarily fish eaters, longnose gar also feed on frogs, snakes, aquatic turtles, invertebrates, waterfowl and small mammals.

Northern species such as the longnose, shortnose and spotted gar rarely exceed 4 to 5 feet and can weigh more than 30 pounds. Alligator gar can grow to more than 8 feet and weigh more than 200 pounds.

Populations of this species are stable.

Young gar are preyed upon by larger fish and aquatic birds and reptiles. Once they reach adulthood, they have very few natural predators other than humans.

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