Species of the genus Libellula (king skimmers) often perch on shoreline vegetation, are stout bodied, and usually have distinctive body and wing patterns.
The juvenile has a white face, red-brown eyes, brown shoulders, a grayish thorax, and a yellow abdomen with a black dorsal stripe. Each wing is marked with black: a streak at base, a small spot in middle, a black stigma (near the tip), and a black tip. In the females, the black tips extend to the stigmas. The eyes are blue at maturity. The abdomen is brown in mature females. The front of the thorax becomes blue and then the abdomen for the males at maturity. The body length varies from 2.2 to 2.5 inches. The juveniles and females are similar to those of the slaty skimmer.
Ranging throughout eastern United States, this species prefers swamp pools or ponds and slow forest streams. Wisconsin was part of its historical range, with an older record for Milwaukee County. It may still occur in some of southeastern counties.
Throughout northern part of its range, the flight season is from early June to early September.