Sooty Threadtail, Elattoneura frenulata,  Roetswartdraadstertjie   Flag of South Africa.svg  

108 012 Male Kogelberg Western Cape 18 11 2015
Elattoneura frenulata Sooty Threadtail Female Kogelberg Western Cape 18 11 2015
Elattoneura frenulata Sooty Threadtail
Short description:

Sooty Threadtail, Elattoneura frenulata  Roetswartdraadstertjie is small sized, distinctly blackish damselfly with blackish upper parts, with a greyish tip to a very slender abdomen.

Family Platycnemididae      (Yakobson & Bianchi, 1905)

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Elattoneura frenulata Sooty Threadtail Male Kogelberg Western Cape 18 11 2015Image Gallery








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Key identification features:


  • Black face with strong black hairs. Head black from above, developing pruinescence with age
  • Eyes black above, bluish grey below
  • Thorax black above, greyish buff below;appears striped with pruinescence in old males.
  • Clear wings, with dark brown pterostigmas with fine light brown borders.
  • Abdomen black above and light brown below. Segments 9 and 10 light grey, pruinescent


  • Males occurring at high elevations of the Cederberg have a tendency to be blue rather than black, especially top of the head and thorax.


  • Slightly larger, slightly larger, more robust than male
  • Overall dark brown
  • Thorax faintly striped light and dark brown.
  • Favours tall grasses of clear sluggish reaches of streams & rivers with well-vegetated banks. 
  • Inferred to occur from 0 to 1200 m above sea level, but mostly below 700.
  • Usually fairly well-hidden among the tall grasses and other vegetation, but can be seen cruising among them when disturbed.
  • Cruises & settles along the edges, perching low on plants and exposed rocks.
  • On the wing from November to May.
Compared with other species:
  • Vaguely similar to young Pseudagrion draconis (Mountain Sprite) but smaller and lacking the postocular spots.

Distribution of Sooty Threadtail, Elattoneura frenulata,  Roetswartdraadstertjie

Distribution Map June 2020 Map








 South Africa

  • Endemic to the montane areas of the Western and  Eastern Cape. Flag of South Africa.svg
  • Localised, although common in places.    
Further reading about Sooty Threadtail, Elattoneura frenulata,  Roetswartdraadstertjie:

A Visual Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of South Africa
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Least concern)
Odonata Atlas of Africa VMU Number 661790
African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online