Shortnose Gar - Lepisosteus platostomus


fish: shortnose gar
Duane Raver/USFWS
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Oklahoma Distribution – Found in the larger tributaries and rivers in most of the eastern half of Oklahoma. This species has been found in several areas of the North Canadian River system west to Lake Optima.

Description -  An elongate species very similar to the spotted gar in body shape and general appearance. It differs from the longnose gar by its shorter snout and from the spotted gar by its unspotted head and body, through dark spots usually are present on the fins. It also differs from the spotted gar in having more predorsal scales (more than 50 vs fewer than 50). The shortnose gar is Oklahoma's smallest gar; generally under 2 feet in length and 5 pounds in weight. 

Habitat – The shortnose gar can be commonly found in many lakes, oxbows and other sluggish habitats, but may be somewhat better adapted for living in the main streams of large, muddy rivers, though it definitely prefers quiet sand or mud bottomed pools and backwaters.

Natural Food Sources –  Feeding patterns and breeding habits appear to be quite similar to those of other gars, although the shortnose is known to feed on insects and crustaceans to a much greater extent than has been shown in other species.  Prior to rain these fish fed almost entirely on aquatic organisms, whereas following rain they  mainly on terrestrial forms.

Spawning – Spawning occurs in shallow backwater from May to July. Eggs are scattered over vegetation or submerged objects.