The Variable Darner is a large, mosaic darner with a number of distinctive features. For one, its side stripes are of variable thickness, hence the common name of this species. The side stripes sometimes even pinch off in the middle. Similarly, the front stripes of the thorax are small or even absent.
Another distinctive feature is that the abdomen has cream-colored spots on the 10th segment. In addition, the appendages are simple.
The Variable Darner is widespread at small ponds and lakes. This species tends to perch low to the ground, often on human-made structures with a smooth vertical surface, like a signpost or a wall. Females oviposit their eggs in logs and other vegetation along the shore.