Gars

Gars (Ginglymodi, Lepisosteiformes) belong to the family Lepisosteidae and are among the most primitive of predatory fishes.  Together with their closest relatives the bowfins, they make the group Holostei.

For more detailed information on gars please visit LEPISOSTEIDAE.NET

Gars are easily identified from other fishes by their elongate snout (uniquely elongate in the ethmoid region of the skull) containing numerous conical sharp teeth and their interlocking, diamond-shaped ganoid scales (Polypterids also possess ganoid scales, but are different in composition).

Lepisosteids possess a modified gas bladder (highly vascularized; connection between throat and gas bladder) which serves as a lung for facultative air-breathing.  Gars breathe air when activity levels are high and/or dissolved oxygen levels are low.

Although once found on several continents, extant members of this family are presently relegated to North & Central America and Cuba, represented by two genera and seven species.

Exant Species
Genus Lepisosteus

Longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus)

Shortnose gar (Lepisosteus platostomus)

Spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus)

Florida gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus)

Genus Atractosteus

Tropical gar (Atractosteus tropicus)

Cuban gar (Atractosteus tristoechus)

Alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula)

Extinct Species (images coming soon)
Genus Lepisosteus
L. opertus (Estes 1964)
L. indicus (Woodward 1908)
L. fimbriatus (Wood 1846)
L. bemisi

Genus Atractosteus
A. strausi (Kinkelin 1884)
A. simplex (Leidy 1873)
A. africanus (Arambourg & Joleaud 1943)
A. occidentalis (Leidy 1856)
A. atrox (Leidy 1873)
A. messelensis
A. falipoui (Cavin & Brito 2001)

Genus Cuneatus
C. cuneatus (Cope 1878)
C. wileyi

Genus Masillosteus
M. kelleri (Micklich & Klappert 2001)
M. janeae

Genus Obaichthys
O. decoratus (Wenz & Brito 1992)
O. africanus

Genus Dentilepisosteus
D. laevis (Wenz & Brito 1992)
D. kemkemensis

Hybrid Forms (currently known, images coming soon)

Atractosteus spatula x Lepisosteus osseus
Atractosteus spatula x Lepisosteus platostomus
Atractosteus spatula x Lepisosteus oculatus
Lepisosteus osseus x Lepisosteus platostomus

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