Older males develop a white powdery substance on the abdomen called pruinosity. The long abdomen is used it to defend territory. Males will flash their white tails by holding them straight up at intruding males as they attempt to approach borders.
Females have a brown abdomen and have a noticeably different appearance from males. They are more slender and the black color pattern on their wings almost appears to be the inverse of the male pattern. Females release their fertilized eggs into the water, near still shorelines, by dipping their abdomen under water several times. Larvae hatch and remain underwater feeding on other small aquatic insects. These naiads (juveniles) will molt into adult form after they crawl out of the water where they begin their new, mature life on land. Adults eat small flying insects like mosquitoes and gnats.
They are active from spring through autumn. While they are dependent on a water source for the completion of their life cycle, adults have been seen in drier parts of the habitat.