The body of the Florida Gar is cigar-shaped with a broad, toothed snout. The single dorsal fin is located just above the anal fin. Its hard scales form a brick pattern. Like the spotted gar, it has spots on the top of its head, all over its body and on all its fins. These spots sometimes come together to form stripes. Florida gar and spotted gar can be distinguished mainly by the distance from the front of the eye to the back of the gill cover. The Florida gar is less than two-thirds the length of the snout; the spotted gar is more than two-thirds the length of the snout. The Florida gar can be distinguished from the longnose gar, the only other gar found in the Florida range, by the absence of spots on the head and the elongated bill of the longnose gar.
Florida gar is common throughout the Florida peninsula and in the Panhandle as far as the Apalachicola River drainage, where there is evidence of hybridisation with spotted gar. Florida gar is also found throughout southern Georgia as far south as the Savannah River drainage.
Florida gar is common in medium to large lowland streams and lakes with muddy or sandy bottoms and abundant underwater vegetation. It is also common in canals. Gar can be found resting on the bottom as well as on the surface. They live in freshwater and can survive in stagnant water, which is intolerable to most other fish.
The average size rarely exceeds 2ft. The record for all tackle is 10lb.
Life history and Behavior
The spawning season lasts from May to July in backwaters and swamps. A female can lay up to 6,000 eggs at one time. Florida gar often travel in groups of 2 to 10 or more.
Food and feeding habits
Forage and coarse fish make up the majority of the adult gar's diet, although it will also eat shrimp, insects, crayfish and grouse.
|Conservation status||Least Concern|
|Life span, years||No information|
|Maximum body weight, kg||4.36|
|Maximum length, cm||132.2|
|Sailing speed, m/s||No information|
|Threat to people||Edible|
|Way of eating||Predator|