World’s largest bee, Megachile pluto, thought extinct, has been spotted for the first time since 1981

Scientists were delighted when a team of researchers recently found the world’s largest bee (Megachile pluto) in Indonesia.
Scientists feared it might be extinct — until now.

One of the first images of a living Wallace’s giant bee. Megachile pluto is the world’s largest bee, which is approximately 4 times longer than a European honey bee. A group of researchers made a stunning "rediscovery" of the elusive critter and took the first photos and video of a living Wallace’s giant bee on January 25, 2019.


The team — composed of natural history photographer Clay Bolt, entomologist Eli Wyman, behavioral ecologist Simon Robson and ornithologist Glenn Chilton — spent years studying the bee and slogged around in humid Indonesia forests for days before stumbling upon one.

The rediscovery has renewed hope that more of the region’s forests are home to the rare species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies this species as "vulnerable" due to mining and quarrying.


Only two other lucky fellows are documented to have seen it in person before. The first was British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who discovered the giant bee in 1858 while exploring the tropical Indonesian island of Bacan. Entomologist Adam Messer became the second in 1981.

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