World's largest bee finally found after going missing for 38 years

A guide examines a termite mound for the large bees

A guide examines a termite mound for the large bees

Commonly known as Wallace's Giant Bee, it's approximately ten times larger than a European honey bee.

Wallace first discovered it in 1858 and described the female bee as "a large, black wasp-like insect, with vast jaws like a stag beetle".

The world's largest bee-the Wallace's giant bee or Megachile pluto-has been rediscovered, minding its own beeswax on Indonesian's North Moluccas islands.

Scientists have now been buoyed by their success, which they believe raises hopes that the island could be home to many more giant bees, which is one of the rarest insects on the planet. In just journals, Wallace described the species as "a large, black wasp-like insect, with vast jaws like a stag beetle".

Now recognized as the world's largest bee, despite its enormous size it wasn't seen again until 1981 when entomologist Adam Messer rediscovered it in Indonesia. They typically build their nests in termite dwellings. Since then, the species has been lost to science.

Bolt and one of his teammates, entomologist Eli Wyman, returned to the US after making the discovery and hope to work with researchers and conservation groups in Indonesia to ensure protection for the giant bee, Bolt wrote. They spent their time around termite mounds, hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive species.

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The team discovered a female living all alone in a termites' nest some two meters off the ground, or roughly 47 feet in non-metric standards. "It is also possible that it mainly collects pollen from flowering trees putting it out eyesight for most locals".

It's not unusual for the Wallace's giant bee to go long periods without being seen by humans.

While the bee has once-again been found, it's hard to say how long it will stay. But those apian relatives are nowhere near as imposing as Wallace's giant bee, he added. "The female Wallace's giant bee that we found was very calm and unthreatening and showed no sign of aggression toward our team".

"Messer's rediscovery gave us some insight, but we still know next to nothing about this extraordinary insect", trip member and bee expert Eli Wyman, an entomologist at Princeton University, said.

The Global Wildlife Conservation is a nonproft that's been searching for "lost" species, or species that might not actually be extinct, but haven't been seen in a decade or more. Lucky us, we've got just the bees in our hive-mind.

As for the other discovered species, clips from the trip and rediscovery of the Wallace's giant bee are now being compiled and produced into a documentary film: "In Search of the Giant Bee".

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