Trithemis arteriosa is about as long as but more slender than T. annulata with a thin cylindrical abdomen. The mature males have a bright red abdomen with no purple pruinosity and have black markings on the sides, especially on S6-S9. These markings are larger than on T. annulata. The frons is red with a black base and a metallic gloss. The wings have red veins and there is a large amber-coloured patch at the base of the hind wings. Male genitalia are like T. annulata but genital lobe has a narrower tip. Immature males are yellow and become red with age.
The females are more slender than their cogeners T.annulata and T. kirbyi and has a black-sided abdomen. In appearance and colouration they are similar to the females of Sympetrum fonscolombi. However the wings of female T. arteriosa might have dark patches at the tips and around the node.
The extent of the wing patches and the black markings are very variable in both sexes, and can be strongly diminished in arid regions.
Males perch prominently on waterside stakes.
Trithemis arteriosa is one of the most widespread and abundant dragonflies in Africa, although it is patchy in the north of the continent. It is widespread and abundant in the Levant but in Europe it is restricted to the Canary Islands and Cyprus and has appeared as vagrant on Crete. It was first recorded in Turkey in 1988 and has since expanded its range to the west. It is now found along much of the southern coast of Turkey with easternmost records from Iran and Oman.
Eruropean records are known from Canary Islands, Cyprus and Crete. The species is fairly common in the Canary Islands and is known from La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. The first published record from Cyprus is from 2006 when the species was encountered at several localities in the east of the island. However, older unpublished and unconfirmed records are known from earlier dates going back to 1990-1999. A single record from Crete was from October 2011 when several individuals was found at a man-made barrage lake near Skourvoulis. Despite further research, the species was not found again on this island.
trithemis arteriosa is found in arid and semi-arid landscapes and reproduces in a large variety of sunny, standing or slow flowing waters such as gravel pits, ponds, lakes, permanent wadis and ditches. Its rapid larval development allows the species to reproduce in temporary waters.