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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 are capable of gulping air into their swim bladders and don’t just rely on getting oxygen through their gills. They “breath” air by coming to the surface and taking in a mouth full of air. 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.

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. "Lepisosteidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 12, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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