Recovery Strategies

Recovery Strategy for the Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) in Canada

The Spotted Gar is a relatively large (up to 760 mm in total length), heavily armoured, predatory species with a long, narrow body and elongated snout with many sharp teeth. The back and upper sides are olive green to velvety brown above the lateral line, dull silvery below, and adults have brown spots on the snout, head, body and fins. The Spotted Gar is distinguished from the more common Longnose Gar by its shorter, wider snout. Although globally secure, the Spotted Gar is at the northern extent of its range in southern Ontario and was never common. Extant populations occur within three shallow, heavily vegetated coastal wetlands of Lake Erie (Long Point Bay, Point Pelee National Park and Rondeau Bay). Additionally, new records exist for East Lake and Hamilton Harbour (Lake Ontario drainage); however, it is not known whether reproducing populations exist at these locations as only one individual has been confirmed from each location (in 2007 and 2010, respectively). Historic records of Spotted Gar include single specimens from both Lake St. Clair and the Bay of Quinte (Lake Ontario). Threats to Spotted Gar populations include overall habitat loss (due to dredging, filling and harbour improvements), sediment and nutrient loading, exotic species, barriers restricting movement, climate change and possibly fishing pressure (commercial/recreational incidental harvest).

2012/10/30 The Final Recovery Strategy for the Spotted Gar has been reposted due to issues with the translation of the French version, posted on September 24, 2012.

Consultation period: 2012-04-19 to 2012-06-18


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Contact Person(s)

SARA Directorate
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
200 Kent St.
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0E6
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