The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

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Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in AESHNIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 4

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Comet Darner (Anax longipes) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Common Green Darner  
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Comet Darner
Flight Charts
Distribution Statewide, though more widespread in the southern half of the Coastal Plain and southeastern part of the Piedmont. Of spotty occurrence in most of the Piedmont and mountains, and the northern half of the Coastal Plain, though likely occurs in all 100 counties. In recent years, there have been many more records for the mountains, and thus relatively few counties in this province lack records now.
Abundance Widespread but mostly uncommon (though not hard to see just one) across the southern half of the Coastal Plain and most of the Piedmont and mountains. Rare to uncommon in the northern Coastal Plain, where few recent records -- scarcity of observers there? Even though it is not a rare species, we are aware of only a single daily count of more than six individuals; one observer counted 11 of them in 2020. In general, most numerous in the southern Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills.
Flight In the Coastal Plain, generally from mid-April to late November. Flies at least from early May to early October in the Piedmont and to late September in the mountains.
Habitat Mainly small to medium ponds, including natural ones such as limesink ponds and Carolina bays.

See also Habitat Account for General Pond Shorelines
Behavior Most often seen (a male) patrolling back and forth over a pond, typically about 3-6 feet above the water. At times seen over dry land, but best looked for over a pond/small lake. A male is quite territorial, and thus it is not hard to see a single male patrolling over a pond, but unlike with most other pond dragonflies, you might not see any other males at the pond!
Comments Males, with their bright red abdomen contrasting with the green head and thorax, are among our most beautiful and easily identified dragonflies. Its large size also adds to its striking appearance. Females and immatures can easily be confused with Common Green Darner, and probably cannot be safely identified while in flight. In fact, a green-bodied dragonfly with a rusty-brown abdomen seen flying over a field is more likely a female/immature Common Green Darner than a Comet Darner.
State Rank S4
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-09 11:40:17

Photo Gallery for Comet Darner   27 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Macon, 2023-05-13, Highlands--Ravenel Lake
Photo 2 by: Jessica Lowery

Comment: Dare; OBU, 2022-06-10, Nags Head Woods Preserve, iNaturalist Record #121131133 - Male
Photo 3 by: L. Arent

Comment: Wake, 2022-05-26, N.C. Museum of Art pond
Photo 4 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2019-07-27, my property, Holly Ridge - Attracted to LED and UV lights, 11:41 pm
Photo 5 by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2018-08-18, Retention pond behind Circle-K, US Hwy 17N, Jacksonville - Three males patrolling pond, one netted for photo
Photo 6 by: John Petranka and party.

Comment: Davidson, 2018-07-14, Lexington. Pond at Finch Park and along Abbotts Creek where noted. - Male.
Photo 7 by: Robert Gilson

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-07-12, Reedy Creek Nature Preserve - Albert Stevens collected
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Transylvania, 2018-06-27, Gorges State Park (GORG) - male patrolling over Raymond Fisher Pond
Photo 9 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-25, Pond beside Breedlove Road, 5 km northeast of Cashiers - First record for county.
Photo 10 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2018-06-09, Brumley Preserve North of NC 10, Silo Pond - Male
Photo 11 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2017-11-18, Carolina Beach State Park (CABE), limesink ponds
Photo 12 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2017-07-18, Azalea Park, Asheville
Photo 13 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2017-05-29, Stones Creek Game Land
Photo 14 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Wayne, 2017-05-29, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, along dike of swimming lake
Photo 15 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-07, Sandhill Game Land; Scotland Lake - adult males
Photo 16 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Richmond; C, 2016-08-06, Woods Pond Number Two, just south of the fish ponds at Mckinney Lake Fish Hatchery. Male. Photo.
Photo 17 by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Wayne, 2016-07-17, - Males patrolling, females ovipositing around bodies of water at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park
Photo 18 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2016-06-17, indivduals not counted; ponds along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest
Photo 19 by: John Petranka, Jim Petranka

Comment: Madison, 2016-06-07, Shelton Laurel Creek, along NC Hwy. 208 just north of confluence with Big Laurel Creek. Males.
Photo 20 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2015-11-28, Carolina Beach State Park
Photo 21 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Wilkes; M, 2015-06-16, Wildlife Resources Commission fishing put-in on Triplett Rd. - foraging over creek
Photo 22 by: John Petranka

Comment: Durham, 2015-05-27, West Point on the Eno Park - Female. Ovipositing (unexpectedly?) in riffles of Eno River downstream from dam.
Photo 23 by: John Petranka

Comment: Chatham, 2014-07-26, Jordan Lake Educational State Forest. Pond near parking area. - Males. Slightly out of focus but easily diagnostic flight photos taken.
Photo 24 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2014-06-29, - Patrolling males at retention pond
Photo 25 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2012-06-14, Fletcher Park, Fletcher (eating a Slaty Skimmer)
Photo 26 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2012-06-14, Fletcher Park, Fletcher
Photo 27 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2010-06-05, Imaged at Fletcher Park