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Spotted gar
Alligator gars can grow to more than nine feet long

Gars (or garpike) are a type of ray-finned fish. Gars have long bodies that are heavily armoured with scales. Their long jaws have long, sharp teeth.[1][2] All gars are relatively large fish. Some have been reported to be 3 metres (9.8 ft) in length.[1] However, they typically grow to 2 metres (6.6 ft) and weigh over 45 kilograms (99 lb).

They are carnivores which eat other fish. There are seven species of living gars. Their peak period was in the early Mesozoic. Once worldwide, they are now confined to the Americas.

Unusually, their swim bladders can function as lungs. Most gars surface once in while to take a gulp of air.[3] Gar flesh is edible and the hard skin and scales of gars are used by humans. However, their eggs are highly toxic.[4]

Phylogeny[change | change source]

Gars are the family Lepisosteidae. This is the only living family in the order Lepisosteiformes. Most fish are teleosts, but gars are Holostei.


Ginglymodi (gars and their fossil relatives)

Halecomorphi (bowfin and its fossil relatives)


Genera[change | change source]

Extant[change | change source]

Extinct[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Gars, Gar Pictures, Gar Facts". National Geographic. 16 November 2009. Archived from the original on 19 July 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  2. "Gar". Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State. Archived from the original on 3 August 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  3. "Atractosteus spatula". Florida Museum of Natural History. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  4. Love, Chad (23 April 2010). "Did you know that gar eggs make you sick?". Field & Stream. Retrieved 14 June 2019.