The spotted gar is a member of an ancient family, Lepisosteidae, of predaceous ﬁsh. It is often confused with its close relative, the Florida gar. The spotted gar has good sporting virtues but is not widely pursued, and it is often caught incidental to other ﬁshing activities. It is not considered a good food ﬁsh, and its roe is toxic to humans but not to other ﬁsh.
IdentificationThe body of the spotted gar is long and cylindrical, covered with hard, ganoid (diamond-shaped) scales. It has a single row of teeth in each jaw. The spotted and the Florida gar are the only two gar that have spots on the top of the head, as well as over the entire body and on the ﬁns.
The spots on other gar are limited to the ﬁns and the posterior portions of the body, usually after the pelvic (ventral) ﬁns. The two are generally distinguished by the distance between the front of the eye and the rear edge of the gill cover. If the distance is less than two-thirds the length of the snout, it is a Florida gar; if it is more than two-thirds the length of the snout, it is a spotted gar.