Common Threadtail     Elattoneura glauca     Gewone Draadstertjie

Elattoneura glauca. Common Threadtail. Male
Pair Nwanedi LP RSA Dec 2018

Family Platycnemididae     (Yakobson & Bianchi, 1905)

Short description:

Common Threadtail Elattoneura glauca Gewone Draadstertjie is small sized, slender, and strongly striped in bluish grey and black.

More Images:

Elattoneura glauca Common Threadtail Male Lajuma Nature Reserve LP RSA Dec 2018Image Gallery

Elattoneura glauca Common Threadtail KloofzightMale

Female EzemveloFemale








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Key identification features:


  • Face is dark grey with a strong greyish white pruinescence. The labrum is blackish. Head is greyish black from above. Neck is a pruinescent greyish blue.
  • Eyes are blackish brown above, turning turquoise midway, green below; dark ring present midway. 
  • Thorax is distinctly pruinescent greyish blue from above with a distinctive black stripe on the shoulder. Area between the wing bases with small light brown blotches.Elattoneura glauca Common Threadtail Kloofzight
  • Wings are clear. Pterostigmas dark are brown with fine light brown borders.
  • Abdomen dark bluish black with fine indistinct buff rings. Segments 1 and 2 pruinescent above, segments 8 to 10 heavily pruinescent greyish white.
  • Young males similar to females bite brown with white markings on s 7-10


  • Slightly larger and more robust than male,
  • Thorax patterning  brown and dark brown with creamy brown stripes Dark version very dark almost blackish brown with creamy white strips
  • Abdomen with distinct white, browning slightly with age,  markings on s 7-10.
Compared with other species:
  • Distinguished from Elattoneura frenulata Elattoneura frenulata Sooty Threadtail Male Kogelberg Western Cape 18 11 2015 by being bluish grey and not black and is rare in southwestern WCP.
  • It is smaller and much more slender than any species and the dorsal, wide, greyish blue thoracic stripes give it a 'greybacked' appearance.
  • Striped Pseudagrion species have wider black stripes than blue when viewed from above.
  • Appendages distinctive.
Distribution and habitat:

Distribution Map June 2020Common Threadtail Elattoneura glauca Gewone Draadstertjie is abundant and widespread across much of the country,
There are few records from the Karroo and it is localised and rare on the coast and in the Lowveld. 
Habitat is tall grasses beside sluggish reaches of rivers and occasionally pools, marshes and dams.
From 0 to 2400 m above sea level, but mostly below 1800.

  • Reluctant to fly and is most often seen perching on grass stems. Its flight is slow and hovering, covering just a few centimeters.
Further reading:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 661810
A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa


Description information by Michael J Samways


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