The most common dragonfly in the country, the male can be readily identified by its pale red body, with a straight abdomen and two small black marks near the end of the abdomen. Close inspection reveals black and yellow striped legs.
Females possess a brownish body, the black and yellow striped legs being an important feature in separating them from female Ruddy Darters.
It is found in a wide range of habitats and is on the wing from the end of June and is the last Odonatid to be recorded flying in the year, individuals not uncommonly persisting to the second week of November.
Nationally it is widespread across England and Wales, although scarce into northern England and largely absent from southern and central Scotland. The Highland Darter, which may or may not be a separate species, occurs on the west coast of Scotland.