Ophiogomphus howei 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Odonata Gomphidae

Scientific Name: Ophiogomphus howei Bromley, 1924
Common Name(s):
English Pygmy Snaketail
French Ophiogomphe de Howe
Taxonomic Source(s): Schorr, M. and Paulson, D. 2013. World Odonata List. Tacoma, Washington, USA Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2014-11-28
Assessor(s): Abbott, J.C., Donnelly, T. & Paulson, D.R.
Reviewer(s): Cannings, R. & Tognelli, M.F.
Ophiogomphus howei is thought to be rare but occurs over a moderately large range (extent of occurrence >20,000 km²). It has been listed as Vulnerable (Bick 1983) and Imperiled (Bick 2003). It has been found in abundance at some localities (e.g., Saint Croix River in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Chippewa and South Fork Flambeau Rivers in Wisconsin, and New River in Virginia). Based on inventory data from the Acadian Region, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina, there could be as many as 175 occurrences in these states and provinces. This number could be an underestimate when under-surveyed areas are considered; however, the species appears to have disappeared from at least one state. Surveys are influenced by the great difficulty of locating adults, which apparently live the bulk of their time in the tops of trees; however, exuviae are readily determined and their collection is the most effective survey method for this species. This species has been studied extensively in the 1990s in Maine by students of the University of Maine, Orono (B. Bradeen, D. Boland), and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife supported a survey by Boland in 1996 and by de Maynadier in 1997 and 1998. No abundance changes that were not attributable to flight season were noted. Given the high vagility of the species (estimated 10 kilometers [6 miles] per day along the waterway) and the prevalence of suitable habitat over much of its range, the species' overall population is not considered fragile. Localized extirpations would probably be re-inhabited very shortly (less than two years) after habitat recovery, with catchment extirpations requiring somewhat more time (less than five years). It is therefore listed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This northeastern North American species occurs from Ontario and New Brunswick south to Tennessee and South Carolina, also separate population in Minnesota and Wisconsin. It occurs in 2 provinces in Canada and 12 states in the United States of America.
Countries occurrence:
Canada (New Brunswick, Ontario); United States (Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:O. howei is locally common, especially as indicated by exuvial collections, in scattered populations across its moderately extensive range.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Ophiogomphus howei occurs at strongly flowing, clean rivers through woodland with gravel/sand/mud bottoms, rarely smaller rivers. It apparently cannot breed in conditions found below dams (Dunkle 2000). Larvae burrow in sandy substrates.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Current threats appear moderate over much of the species' northern range, but habitat threat is probably major to the south. Potential threats of habitat degradation are the impoundment of running waters by human activities such as poorly drained roads and damming, channelization leading to scouring of microhabitats, and toxic or organic pollution.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Listed under the Canadian Species at Risk Act as a species of Special Concern. Considered Endangered in Ontario. Occurrences protected on the St. Croix River, administered by the St. Croix International Waterway Commission, and in Baxter State Park, Maine; there are very likely to be occurrences in other state and provincial parks. The species is known from sufficient localities over a wide range that no further conservation measures are considered necessary.

Citation: Abbott, J.C., Donnelly, T. & Paulson, D.R. 2017. Ophiogomphus howei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T15366A65817976. . Downloaded on 23 September 2018.
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