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Species: Lepisosteus oculatus, Spotted Gar

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snout 57-65% head
front eye to gill cover edge > 2/3 snout length
top head - large dark oblong blotches
WITH small bony plates under throat

Lepisosteus oculatus Winchell, 1864

Spotted Gar

Elongate; a long conical snout, snout moderately narrow and moderately elongate (57-65% of upper head length), distance from front of eye to back of gill cover > 2/3 snout length; nostrils at front of snout; one row large teeth on each jaw (2 rows in young), smaller teeth on side of roof of mouth; gill rakers small and pear shaped; 15-24 on first gill arch; fleshy isthmus of body separating gill openings under throat with small bony ossicles; pectoral low on flank; pelvics at about middle of belly; single dorsal fin and anal fin at rear just before tail; fins without spines, with large scales around their bases; vertebral column continues upwards in a fleshy ridge at base of tail fin; body covered with an armor of large, heavy, rhomboidal scales that are attached diagonally to each other by peg-and-socket; top edge of tail fin covered with bony scales.

Body darker grey above, lighter below; top of head with large oblong dark blotches; body uniform or blotched above, usually 2 brown stripes along side; fins blotched.

Reaches 109 cm, at least 4.4 kg.

Depth: 0-10 m.

Mainly in freshwater; but enters estuaries.

The Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 109
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 10