Allocnemis leucosticta Goldtail 117 039 Allocnemis leucosticta Goldtail 101 032 Allocnemis leucosticta Goldtail Young Pair Tzaneen LP December 2015 1

Goldtail.   Goudstertjie.   Flag of South Africa.svg

Allocnemis leucosticta (Selys, 1863)
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101 030 Allocnemis leucosticta Goldtail Male Dap Naudee Dam Tzaneen LP December 2015 1
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Short description:

Goldtail, Allocnemis leucostuca, Genus Allocnemis, Family Platycnemididae, fairly large sized, slender, mostly black, with black and pale blue (or white) thorax, smoky wings, white pterostigmas and abdomen with golden tip and fluttering flight

Key identification features:


  • Face light blue in a distinct line across and black; labrum and cheeks are light greenish blue. Anteclypeus brown, postclypeus black, frons light blue. Head black from above. Immature male head brown
  • Eyes black above, blue below. Neck black with a golden tip at the end of the abdomen is diagnostic.Immature male head, face and eyes brow with light brown
  • Thorax black with white or light pale blue stripes.Humeral stripe whir becoming yellowish with age. Legs light blue/white in front with black at the back. Immature male brown in place of black makings 
  • Wings smoky. Root of wings brown. White pterostigmas
  • Abdomen mostly black with fine whitish rings and white/light blue stripes along the lower segments becoming darker with age. S9 - 10 black below. S1-2 white/light blue  below. Last half of segment 8 and all of segment s9 - 10, as well as appendages, yellow,sometimes tending to orange but white when young. S 10 may blacken to leave only yellow dot in center Cerci (upper appendages) with black tip but can become black at upper edges with age. Paraproct (lower appendages) white becoming yellow/orange with age. Cerci tips beds down and inwards.


  • Similar but less brightly coloured.
  • Pterostigmas ranging from white when young to orange brown with age
  • Abdomen mostly black with fine whitish rings and white/light blue stripes along the lower segments becoming darker and brownish yellow with age. Segments 8-10 blueish becoming yellow with age. S 8-10 with distinct pattern. Blueish becoming yellow with black or black bands below with age.
Compared with other species:
  • Unmistakable. No other species to compare with.
Distribution and habitat:
  • Endemic to South Africa.
  • Clear, shallow, forest streams. Varies from well forested areas to occasional bushes and trees.
  • Montane forests along the coastal highlands from Western Cape - to Limpopo Provinces.
  • Flits in sunny spots among branches overhanging streams, landing and perching in a conspicuous position.
  • The white pterostigmas are clearly visible in flight.
  • Fluttering flight pattern.
  • Sometime in large numbers.
Further reading:
A Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 54
Dragonflies and Damselflies of South Africa   p. 66
Dragonfly Biotic Index   p. 58
Websites of internist
Warwick Tarboton
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 661480
African Dragonflies & Damselflies Online
Other Information:
Size Comparison Diagram Dragonflies, Damselflies
Morphology of a
Dragonfly or Damselfly
Map of South Africa




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