Family: LEPISOSTEIDAE, Gars
Gars are large fishes (up to 3 m) with elongate, cylindrical bodies; a long conical snout; nostrils at front of snout; large fangs on both long jaws, in 1-2 rows on top jaw and one on bottom; pectoral low on flank; pelvics at about middle of body; dorsal (1) and anal fins at rear just before tail; fins without spines; 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; anus bordered by three modified scales; dorsal, tail and anal fins with bony scales bordering first ray, top edge of tail fin covered with bony scales.
The family is found only in north and central American waters. All are basically freshwater fishes although a few enter brackish water. There are seven species in two genera, with four species in two genera in the Greater Caribbean.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER WILEY (2002)