Species of the genus Libellula (king skimmers) often perch on shoreline vegetation, are stout bodied, and usually have distinctive body and wing patterns.
The painted skimmer is easily identifiable by its wing patterns. Amber-tinted at bases and tips, the wings also have 1 or 2 brown streaks at base. There is a brown spot in middle, near the front edge of the wing and brown bands near the tip. The length of the body varies from 1.8 to 1.9 inches. The thorax has two lateral stripes; a white one in front and yellow one in back. The orange abdomen has a black dorsal stripe on the bottom half. The gray face becomes orange at maturity. The wing veins of a male turn orange at maturity. The female has a small flange near the end of the abdomen.
Found in eastern United States, this species likes marshy forest ponds and occasionally bogs or slow streams. The most common habitat preference is coastal plains. They are believed to be migratory in the northern part of their range which may explain how rarely they are seen in Wisconsin. They have been found in Wisconsin in counties along Lake Michigan as far north as Door County.
The flight season, in the northern part of its range, is from late May to mid-July.