Subject: What is this?
Geographic location of the bug: Knysna, South Africa
Time: 02:51 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I found this interesting fella on a farm during December. I’d love to know what it is. I spotted it twice. Flies short distances and appeared to stay quite low to the ground.
How you want your letter signed: Janine
This is a wonderful image of a very striking looking Bee Fly in the family Bombyliidae, but alas, providing a species identification is proving to be difficult. We did locate a matching image on Southern Africa Nature Photography and the blogger Selwyn Quan notes: “The Bee flies (Family Bombyliidae) in South Africa have been very impressive. They are more than double the size of the Bee flies I usually spot in California, USA. There is however a dearth of resources on the internet regarding identification of Bee flies of South Africa.” We believe we eventually identified your individual as Bombomyia discoidea based on this iSpot posting and this iSpot posting. Encyclopedia of Life has a nice image of a sexually dimorphic mating pair.