Wing length 9.5 - 14mm. It is mostly black with yellow markings on its abdomen. The yellow marks are wedge-shaped, widest at the outer margins of the segment and are on both sides of the abdomen, not meeting in the middle. The scutellum is dark, sometimes with a reddish tinge and the wings have amber veins.
Boggy heaths and acid wet meadows, but it can turn up in gardens and woodland as it is a very mobile species. The young develop in peaty pools and have 'rats tails' (breathing tubes that extend from their abdomens).
Status and distribution
Well distributed through Britain but normally found in small numbers. One record for the reserve of a vagrant.
Best time to see
May to November.