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Comet Darner



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Anax longipes

Hagen, 1861


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Aeshnoidea
Family Aeshnidae
Genus Anax
Species longipes Hagen, 1861 [Anax]


Identification

This distinct darner has the typical green thorax of the genus, but the abdomen is brick red. The face is yellow-green, but unlike other green darners the top of the frons is unmarked. The legs are unusually long and the femora are red except distally where they become black. The costa is green. The male abdomen is bright red beyond the basal green segments. Females are similar, but with greenish-brown spots, and with blue i n young individuals on the middle and posterior segments.

Size

Total length: 75-87 mm; abdomen: 50-61 mm; hindwing: 46-56 mm.

Similar Species

The brick red abdomen contrasted with the green thorax of older individuals is a combination not seen in any other species with in the south-central United States. Amazon Darner (A. amazili ) and female Common Green Darners (A. junius ) both have markings on the frons.

Habitat

Primarily fishless temporary and semi-permanent grassy ponds and pools.

Discussion

This is an uncommon species, widely distributed throughout the eastern parts of the region. Its interactions with Common Green Darner are unclear. Comet Darner has been reported both outnumbering and being out competed by Common Green Darner in semipermanent artificial ponds. Individuals are not active as late in the day as Common Green Darners. Females lay eggs in submerged vegetation.

Distribution

Throughout eastern U.S., Ontario and Quebec; southward to Texas and Florida.