Thursday, December 5, 2013

Florida Gar

The Florida Gar is a large freshwater fish found in the waters of the southern United States, especially in Florida and Georgia. They can grow to lengths of 3-4ft, and can be identified by their blotchy dark spots that cover the body and fins.

Florida Gars are able to live in shallow waters that have very little oxygen. They have a special organ, called an air bladder, that allows them to breathe air.

You'll find these fish living in small groups that number between 2 and 10 individuals. They breed in the early spring during a large spawning events where the females lay sticky eggs in the aquatic vegetation and males swim over them and release sperm to fertilize. The parents have no more involvement with the eggs after the spawning event.

As juveniles, Florida Gars feed on insect larvae, plankton, and very small fish. As they grow up they move to larger fish and invertebrates. The Gars hunt by stalking prey very slowly, and then lunging with inedible speed and catching the victims in their jaws.

Florida Gar don't taste very good, so they are not commonly captured by human fishermen. They are abundant through their range and the population is currently stable.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Southern United States
Size : Length up to 4ft (1.3m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Lepisosteiformes
Family : Lepisosteidae -- Genus : Lepisosteus -- Species : L. platyrhincus
Image : Kihn Quyen

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