New York Natural Heritage Program
Comet Darner
Anax longipes Hagen, 1861

Threats [-]
This species' Coastal Plain Pond habitat on Long Island is threatened by the introduction of grass carp, alterations to hydrology and water quality, as well as herbicides used to clear aquatic weeds from ponds. The most significant threat to their hydrology comes from commercial and residential development causing increases in the demand for fresh water. This causes drawdowns of the water table, altering the hydroperiod and generally diminishing the pond extent (NYNHP 2011). Upstate, the threats to this species' eutrophic pond habitat appear to be slight, especially because it seems to occupy a variety of different types of ponds.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
The most important management concern for Coastal Plain Pond habitats is the maintenance of a natural hydrologic regime and good water quality. Water supplies for new development and ditching, draining or impoundment activities should be weighed carefully. Storm water run-off, herbicide and pesticide use should also be minimized or eliminated in the vicinity of ponds. Where practical, wide (> 100') vegetated buffers should be managed to reduce storm-water, pollution, sediment and nutrient run-off and provide shading and roosting sites. Habitat alteration within the wetland and surrounding landscape should be minimized (NYNHP 2011). In upstate New York, this species has colonized new farm ponds about five years post-construction. The ponds were about 15-18 feet deep, fringed by sedges and cattails, of neutral pH, and containing abundant submerged aquatic vegetation including Chara and Potamogeton spp. (Gregoire and Gregoire 2006). Some of the ponds had small fish, while others were fishless. It is unclear what characteristics make certain farm ponds suitable, while the vast majority aren't occupied.

Research Needs [-]
A clearer understanding of habitat requirements is desirable, especially the degree to which larvae can co-exist with predatory fish populations. The collection of exuviae (shed skins) from shoreline vegetation surrounding breeding ponds suggests that this species is much more abundant in localized areas than is indicated by the observation of adults only (Gregoire and Gregoire 2007). Thus, further research is needed to determine if significant numbers of adults disperse from their natal sites, possibly establishing new breeding populations.