Over all length 39 - 48 mm. The male and female are very similar, with an amber body. The last three segments of the abdomen are black and the last five segments of the abdomen have a thin yellow line along the edge when viewed from above. The segments are semi-transparent so that some of the inner parts of the insect can be seen. Older specimens can be a very dark, olive colour. There are two spots on the front edge of each wing and the hind wings have a dark patch close to the body. There is another form, praenubila, that has more extensive dark marks on the wings.
A wide range of habitats are colonised, throughout the British Isles, making this species almost ubiquitous. Most of the more open water bodies at the reserve are used, but there must be extensive emergent vegetation.
Status and distribution
Widespread and common throughout most of Britain. At the lagoons it is one of the commonest dragonflies.
Best time to see
Late May to mid-August