Females have a slender abdomen; males have a slight flare or bulge at the end of theirs. Females will cruise along the surface of the moving water alone, occasionally dropping a fertilized egg into it by dipping her long abdomen into the water.
Once the egg hatches, a young naiad (juvenile) emerges and immediately begins burrowing into the sandy bottom of the stream (and the name 'sand+dragon' becomes clear). The stout naiad looks more like a crustacean than a dragonfly and will undergo molting before it emerges from the water, develops wings and becomes a fully mature adult. Naiads eat other aquatic insects and live underwater. Adults eat flying insect prey and remain land-bound for the rest of their lives. They are most active in summer and fall months.