Spotted Gar - Lepisosteus oculatus

 

fish: spotted gar
Duane Raver/USFWS
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Oklahoma Distribution – Found throughout most of eastern Oklahoma, recorded as far west as Optima Reservoir and numerous locations in the North Canadian River system, east as far as Canton Reservoir.

Description -  An extremely elongate fish with a prominent snout well equipped with sharp teeth. Snout width is less than a shortnose gars but greater than in longnose. The body is almost cylindrical covered with heavy diamond-shaped scales and the tail is heterocercal. Dorsal and anal fins are located far back on the body. Lateral lines scales 54-59. Fins, head, and body are typically well covered by large spots. Generally less than 3 ft. long although a maximum size of 36 inches and weight 6-8 pounds have been recorded.

Habitat – Spotted gar prefer water with aquatic vegetation.

Natural Food Sources – Feeding behavior consists of a very slow approach to the prey and a quick darting lateral movement of the head which impales the prey on the sharp teeth.

Spawning – The gar spawns in spring in shallow water where the adhesive eggs are scattered randomly. Gar eggs are poisonous but the flesh of the fish may be eastern.