Common Threadtail , Elattoneura glauca, Gewone Draadstertjie

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

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

Family Platycnemididae     (Yakobson & Bianchi, 1905)

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Key identification features:


  • Face is dark grey with the frons strongly pruinose with maturity. 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. Largely blue in life, rather than dark
  • 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.
  • Habitat is Mostly streams, but also rivers, shaded by gallery forest, but sometimes in open landscapes. Often with emergent vegetation and a gravelly, sandy and/or soft (like muddy) bottom.
    From 0 to 2400 m above sea level, but mostly below 1800.
  • Reluctant to fly and is most often seen perching on grass stems. flight is slow and hovering, covering just a few centimeters.
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.
Related Species
Distribution Map June 2020 MapDistribution Map
South Africa
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South Africa
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Elattoneura glauca Common Threadtail Distribution Map Africa Apr 2023Africa
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Arica PhysicalAfrica
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South Africa:

  • Common 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. 


  • Angola; Botswana; Congo-Brazzaville; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Equatorial Guinea; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Republic of South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe;
Further reading:


IUCNThe IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesIUCN IUCN Leasrt ConcernIUCN Leasrt Concern
VM OdonataMAP logo 108x90 RGB trOdonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 661810
D D IDA Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa

Description information by Michael J Samways