Varying from 1.8 to 2.1 inches, this brown and yellow dragonfly has 2 dorsal thoracic stripes which usually create a yellow "W" on the shoulders. There are yellow stripes on sides of the thorax as well. Each wing has a brown spot at base with the top edge of the wing yellow. The most of the slender brown abdomen has dorsal yellow triangles and small lateral pale spots at the end. The eyes generally are olive green-yellow in males and brown in females. The face is greenish. The males are easily identifiable by the yellow appendages (at very end of the abdomen). The females are similar to the males but with duller coloration and a thicker abdomen.
Common throughout southern Great Plains and eastern United States, common sanddragons inhabit sand bars in small streams and shallows of wide lakes; sand-bottomed streams and rivers, and in the north, sand-bottomed lakes. It is infrequently found throughout Wisconsin.
Mid-June to late July in Wisconsin.