• Family: Lepisosteidae (Gars)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: Endangered
• Adult Size: Typically 16-25 inches long, can reach over 30 inches. Usually weighs 1-3 pounds, can reach 5 pounds.
• Typical Foods: Feed on small fish, primarily minnows or gizzard shad. Will also eat crayfish and other large invertebrates.
Shortnose gar typically only have spots on the rear portion of their body and fins. The mouth is filled with sharp needle like teeth and they have very hard diamond shaped scales. These scales do not overlap as they do on most fish but rather are interlocking and form an armor like outer skin. Shortnose gar have a shorter and broader snout and fewer spots than either longnose or spotted gar.
Habitat and Habits
Shortnose gar are found in large rivers and associated overflow ponds and backwaters. They are more tolerant of turbid (murky) waters than most gar species but young are rather dependent on stagnant backwaters making them sensitive to destruction of these habitats. In Ohio this is a rather rare species and is only found in the Ohio River and some of its larger tributaries, particularly the Scioto River.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Shortnose gar spawn in quiet backwaters where they scatter their rather large yellow adhesive eggs over vegetation or other submerged objects. Females are usually accompanied by multiple males. The eggs hatch in about a week and the young remain in shallow backwaters. They mature in about 3 years at a size of around 15 inches.