Length: typically 63-68 mm
Unlike many other dragonflies that often bask in the sun, Fawn Darners prefer low-light conditions and may be seen flying at dusk along shaded streams and small rivers. Boyeria vinosa is also notable for being at home in the foliage of trees, often taking up a perch there. The photo below shows a mating pair of B. vinosa high off the ground in a Willow tree.
The males of Boyeria vinosa patrol small territories with a zig-zag flight path. They often slow to investigate things they encounter along the way.
Fawn Darners are a summer species, though sometimes active until the first days of October.
A similar species also found in West Virginia is the Ocellated Darner, Boyeria grafiana. The pair of spots on each side of the thorax is roundish in Fawn Darner, while in Ocellated the spots are more oval or even polygonal. Also, Fawn Darner has a pair of yellowish dots on each side of the abdominal segments, sometimes touching each other. Ocellated Darner, on the other hand, typically has the pair of spots completely fused to form a single, larger spot, often in a sort of "c" shape. Fawn Darner is more slender than Ocellated, although of course this difference is probably useful only if you have both species in hand for comparison. Dunkle (2000) reports that Boyeria grafiana and B. vinosa sometimes fly together.
Egg-laying in Fawn Darners takes place at the shoreline, with the eggs deposited on aquatic or shoreline vegetation, or in pieces of damp wood.