Clay Bolt | One of the first images of a living Wallace’s giant bee, Megachile plutois, compared to a European honeybee. One of the rarest insects in the world, the Wallace’s giant bee, has been found in Indonesia. In 1858, British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace discovered a tremendous bee while exploring the Indonesian island of Bacan. With a wingspan of two and a half inches – as long as a human thumb – and four times larger than a European honeybee, Wallace described the female as “a large black wasp-like insect, with immense jaws like a stag-beetle.” And thus, the Wallace’s giant bee ( Megachile pluto ) entered the world of scientific literature. 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. Messer’s observations of its behaviors – like how it used its giant jaws to gather resin and wood for its nests – provided some insight, but still, the bee remained generally elusive. It wasn’t seen again for decades, making it the “holy grail” of bees. But now the bodacious bee has been rediscovered once again, according to Global Wildlife Conservation […]


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