Unusual fish with crooked spine caught in Florida waters amazes biologists

    Biologists in Florida were amazed after a fish with an unusual crooked spine was caught. FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute recently published a photo of a biologist holding the fish.

    Unusual fish with crooked spine caught in Florida waters (FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute/Facebook)

    The fish was caught at Silver Glen Springs, which is an idyllic spring in Ocala National Forest. According to officials, it weighed 10.6 pounds and measured 2.7 feet long.

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    The Facebook post’s caption about the “Crooked Gar” reads, “We got another interesting one for ya. Our biologists captured this longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus) while conducting an electrofishing survey in Silver Glen Springs. Unlike the bull shark with a spinal deformity that we shared a few weeks ago, this fish likely got its interesting shape from a spinal injury at some point in its life.”

    “Still, the fish was 2.7 feet long and weighed over 10.6lbs! With their razor-sharp teeth and armor-like scales, longnose gar may look scary, but they are no threat to humans, and they play an important role as an apex predator in many of Florida’s freshwater ecosystems,” it adds.

    What is the longnose gar?

    According to Florida Museum of Natural History, these fish are “distinctive for their elongated, torpedo-shaped bodies and their overly long snouts which are nearly twice the length of their heads and filled with a row of sharp teeth.” Their scales are notably thick and overlapping.

    The website says that these fish are “formidable ambush predators in the slow moving rivers, bayous and reservoirs of Eastern United States.” They can manage to survive in low oxygen and higher salinity water compared to other fish due to their ability to gulp air whenever necessary.

    These fish are commercially fished for in Arkansas, and are viewed in some areas as a nuisance fish that eat sportfish. The website added that the “longnose gar is an important apex predator in many ecosystems, and it is important in helping prevent other species from overpopulating habitats.”

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