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Volume 77—1997

{Page 119}

Records for Northwest Oklahoma of Spotted Gar, Lepisosteus oculatus (Winchell), Longnose Gar, L. osseus (Linnaeus), and Shortnose Gar, L. platostomus Rafinesque

Jimmie Pigg and Robert Gibbs
Environmental Services Laboratory,
Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299

Miller and Robison (1) indicated that the distribution of spotted gar (SPG), Lepisosteus oculatus, is limited to the eastern half of Oklahoma, with possible records as far west as Lake Canton. The shortnose gar (SNG), L. oculatus, is restricted to larger tributaries and rivers in the eastern half of Oklahoma. A similar distribution was indicated for the longnose gar (LNG), L. osseus. The Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes (2) shows a similar distribution for gar within the state.

Beginning in the early 1970s, we established a biannual fish sampling program for streams and lakes in the Panhandle and northwestern Oklahoma (Harper and Woodward Counties). We have been able to collect small numbers of gars from four separate locations (Table 1). Examination of the collection records of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation lake surveys (ODWCLS) indicates the presence of small gar populations in Lake Optima and Lake Fort Supply (Table 1). Because most of the specimens were too large to preserve or were used for toxicity testing, voucher specimens are lacking. However, it is important to describe the presence of these species.

Since 1990, we have collected spotted gar (Fig. 1, p. 121) from the Beaver River north of May (T25N R24W S23) in Harper County and from Wolf Creek (T24N R24W S23) in Woodward County. Thus, the distribution of this species is substantially broader than was described by Miller and Robison (1) or Lee et al. (2).


1.   Miller, R.J., and Robison, H.W., The Fishes of Oklahoma. Oklahoma State University Press, Stillwater, Oklahoma (1973) pp, 246.

2.   Lee, D.S., Gilbert, C.R., Hocutt, C.H., Jenkins, R.E., McAlister, D.E. and Stauffer, J.R., Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes. Publication No. 1980-12 of North Carolina Biological Survey, North Carolina State Museum of Natural History (1980) pp 854.

Received: 1997 Feb 01; Accepted: 1997 Apr 25