This site is dedicated to all things involving gars (members of the family Lepisosteidae, aka garfishes, garpike, lepisosteids), primarily focusing on ecology, natural history, conservation, and current research.
Solomon R. David, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
School of Natural Resources & Environment
University of Michigan
Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation & Research
John G. Shedd Aquarium
All Images © Solomon R David 2017 or used with permission. No images may be reproduced in any way without direct permission from the author.
Introduction to Lepisosteidae
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.
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 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.