A summer and autumn species, this dragonfly can be found well into November and may be one of the last on the wing in the UK. The thorax in both sexes is brown above with poorly defined antehumeral stripes and yellow panels on the sides. The eyes are brown above and yellow below. The legs are black with a diagnostic yellow stripe along their length.
Male: becomes a bright orange-red with maturity with small black spots on S8 and S9.
Female: pale, yellowish-brown abdomen often developing red markings along the segment boundaries and medial line as they age.