It’s that time of week again. Time for fried fishes of all sorts to pop up on Wisconsin menus and time for us here at the blog to feature a new fish for “Fish Fry Day.” Today’s species comes courtesy of Center for Limnology post doc, Brenda Pracheil – the longnose gar.
According to Brenda, many folks view the longnose gar as a “trash fish” that preys on more desirable sport fish species. “But,” she counters, “longnose are native predators and among the most primitive of the fishes in the Mississippi Basin.” In fact, the fish is what’s called a big-river specialist fish and Brenda recently was lead author on a paper exploring the distribution of these kinds of fish in large rivers and pointing to promising approaches to conserving them.
Some more fun facts:
- Gar can be obligate air breathers – while they can breathe through their gills, they can also surface and take a gulp of fresh air if they feel the urge.
- Gar eggs are poisonous. Some fish species have evolved to eat them, but humans should obviously not, as some dude named “Darwin” recently discovered.
- Gar have “wicked cool” teeth.
Another CFL post doc, Solomon David, has a soft spot for gar as well. In fact, Solomon is working at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and, rumor has it, even managed to convince the venerable institution to put a longnose on display. For more on gar and all kinds of cool fish, visit Solomon’s Primitive Fishes website.
And, as always, our friends and the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant, have a nice info page for further reading.