Main identification features
- elongate;long conical snout;long mouth, large teeth
- dorsal and anal finsat rear
- tail base curves up in crest; tail fin top - large bony scales
- scales polygonal, interlocking diagonally
Elongate; a long conical snout; vertebral column continues upwards in a fleshy ridge at base of tail fin;nostrils at front of snout; large teeth on both jaws, in two rows on top jaw and one on bottom, outer edges of top and bottom jaws with a row of needlelike teeth; pectoral low on flank; pelvics at about middle of body; dorsal (1) and anal fin at rear just before tail; fins without spines; top edge of tail fin covered with bony scales; scales large and rhomboidal, attached diagonally to each other by peg-and-socket; anus bordered by three modified scales.
The family is found only in north and central American waters. All are basically freshwater fishes although a few enter brackish water. There are seven species in two genera, with one central American species entering brackish water in our region.
- Gill, T.N., 1863., Descriptive enumeration of a collection of fishes from the western coast of Central America, presented to the Smithsonian Institution by Captain John M. Dow., Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 15:162-174.
- Suttkus, R. D., 1963., Order Lepisostei. Pp. 61-88. In: Fishes of the Western North Atlantic., Sears Foundation for Marine Research:61-88.
- Wiley, E.O., 1976., The phylogeny and biogeography of fossil and recent gars (Actinopterygii: Lepisosteidae). Ed. Richard F. Johnston., The University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History:1-111.
I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.
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