Subject: Dragonfly or Moth?
Geographic location of the bug: Dolphin Coast South Africa
Time: 05:22 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi Bugman,
This bug flew into our 1st-floor apartment last night. When flying it looks like a dragonfly. Up close it resembles a moth as it is hairy. The wingspan is around 20 cm or 7 inches from tip to tip so it is quite large. If it is a type of dragonfly then it is by far the largest I have ever seen and we get some pretty big dragonflies here.
The head resembles a bumble bee and has what looks like a beak. It stayed the night and then flew out this morning.
How you want your letter signed: Terry
This is an Antlion and we found this image on FlickR of Palpares speciosus that looks very similar to your individual. Wikimedia Commons also has an excellent image identified as the same species and Minden Pictures has a gorgeous image by entomologist Piotr Naskrecki that is identified only by the genus.
I know the larvae stage of this insect very well. I don’t think I have ever seen the adult form or perhaps have just mistaken it for a dragonfly.
It’s amazing how big they can get. Thank you so much for answering my question.