Longnose Gar - Lepisosteus osseus


fish: long nose gar
Duane Raver/USFWS
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Oklahoma Distribution – Longnose gar are fairly well distributed throughout eastern Oklahoma. This species has been seen from Lake Optima and the Beaver River in the panhandle and from Lake Fort Supply and the North Canadian River near Woodward.

Description -  The longnose gar can be distinguished from other gars by its long, narrow snout (length more than 13 times it narrowest width in specimens 50 mm long or larger). General characteristics are similar to those of the spotted gar but the spots on the body are smaller and generally less well developed. The fins are often tinted with orange and median fins are spotted. Spots on the head are less noticeable or absent. Later-line scales usually 57-63. Generally less than 40 inches long although maximum length is about 4.5 feet and 35 pounds.

Habitat – The longnose may be more adaptable than some of it relatives. They prefer large, sluggish rivers, clear oxbow and swampy habitats, it can occasionally be found in small streams and faster water.

Natural Food Sources

Spawning – They spawn in smaller tributaries in April or May scattering eggs in shallow water. After hatching the larvae use a specialized organ on the snout for attaching to the substrate during early development. Young fish feed mainly at the surface on small insects, microcrustaceans and fish, shifting to an almost piscivorous diet as the mature.

Facts – Males mature at three to four years while females mat take six years. Females may live more than 30 years.