The flight season of the twelve-spotted skimmer, when the adults are active, varies throughout its range (3). Activity usually occurs between late March and November (2) (4), but is most common between June and October (2).
The twelve-spotted skimmer is a highly territorial species, and the male defends its territory from other dragonfly species, as well as its own (2) (3). Conflicts are usually won by the individual with the greatest flight agility, and the winner gains a better territory or succeeds in retaining its original territory. Disputes are usually between males over areas which are frequently visited by females (2).
Reproduction in most dragonfly species is very similar, with the female flying into the male’s territory, and the male beginning to chase the female. The male will then grab the thorax of the female and form a mating wheel (2), which is a circular position formed by all dragonflies while mating (8). Copulation is brief and usually occurs during flight (3). The female then deposits the fertilised eggs into the water. The male keeps guard until the eggs are deposited as other males may attempt to mate with the female, which can displace the sperm from the previous mating (2).
The adult twelve-spotted skimmer forages from elevated areas such as the tips of tall weeds (2) (4), where it scans the air for small flying insects (2) (7). All dragonfly larvae are voracious predators and have extendable mouthparts with strong hooks to grip prey. The mouthparts retract to place the food into the mouth (8). The twelve-spotted skimmer larvae go through a series of developmental stages (7), eventually leaving the water body and metamorphosing into the adult form (8).