LepisosteidaeGars

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The gar family is made up of 7 species found in eastern North America and Central America, from Quebec to Costa Rica. They are also found on Cuba. They are long, tubular-shaped fish with very long jaws armed with needle sharp teeth. They are usually found in shallow, weedy areas. They do well in water that is low in oxygen content because they can gulp atmospheric air into their vascularized swim bladders. They can get very large, up to 3 meters in the alligator gar of the southeastern United States. Gars are slow-moving fish but are also voracious predators, grabbing fish and crustaceans in their sharp teeth.

Contributors

Tanya Dewey (author), Animal Diversity Web.

Glossary

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

natatorial

specialized for swimming

tactile

uses touch to communicate