This damselfly is known for its very long slender abdomen, which is nearly twice as long as the wings. The length of the body varies from 1.5 to 2.1 inches. The male's thorax is dark with green iridescence above with pale greenish shoulder stripes and lemon-yellow sides. The abdomen is bronzy green above without a blue-gray tip like other spreadwing males at maturity. The colors are obscured by pruinosity as the spreadwings age, especially in males. The female's thorax is brown above pale shoulder stripes and yellow sides. The abdomen is dark above and stockier than males'.
This species is found throughout eastern United States and southernmost Canada. It usually prefers temporary or shaded ponds, quiet streams, and marshy waters. In Wisconsin, it is locally common and widely distributed throughout the state. As with all spreadwings, knowledge of its distribution has been hampered by inadequate survey effort.
Mid-July to late September in Wisconsin.