This site is dedicated to all things involving gars (members of the family Lepisosteidae, aka garfishes, garpike, lepisosteids), primarily focusing on natural history, biology, ecology, conservation, and current research.
We are the web-host for the upcoming Gar 2020 international conference on lepisosteid research and management (July 16-17, 2020 in Thibodaux, Louisiana). More information and updates available HERE.
Our site is now home to the Alligator Gar Technical Committee, part of the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society. For information on the Alligator Gar Technical Committee, see menu links above and at the sidebar. Thank you for your patience as we update these pages.
Introduction to Lepisosteidae
Gars (Ginglymodi, Lepisosteiformes) belong to the family Lepisosteidae and are among the most ancient lineages of predatory fishes; Lepisosteidae dates back to the Jurassic period, approximately 157 million years ago. Together with their closest relatives the bowfins (Amiiformes), they make the group Holostei.
Gars can be identified from other fishes by their elongate snout (uniquely elongate in the ethmoid region of the skull) containing numerous sharp, conical teeth, and their interlocking, diamond-shaped ganoid scales (Polypteridae also possesses ganoid scales, but are different in composition).
Lepisosteids possess a modified gas bladder that 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 (Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Indian subcontinent), extant members of this family are presently relegated to North America, Central America, and Cuba; and are represented by two genera (Lepisosteus and Atractosteus) and seven species.
All Images © Solomon R David 2020 or used with permission. No images may be reproduced in any way without direct permission from the author.