The shortnose gar is the smallest member of an ancient family, Lepisosteidae, of predaceous ﬁsh. It is the most tolerant of all the gar, as it is capable of withstanding murky and brackish water with the help of its specialized air bladder. The bladder allows the gar to gulp in supplementary air and to release gases.
Because large numbers of coarse ﬁsh and panﬁsh exist in many waters inhabited by gar, the shortnose gar (as well as other gar) can be useful in controlling these populations. In some areas, however, it is considered a nuisance by anglers and sometimes even a problem because of its abundance.
The shortnose gar has good sporting virtues but is not widely pursued. It is often caught incidentally by anglers pursuing other ﬁsh. It is not considered a good food ﬁsh, and its roe is toxic.