It was rediscovered in February 2019 by Natural history photographer, Clay Bolt. In 2018, two specimens were collected in Indonesia, one on Bacan in February and the other on Halmahera in September. “It was absolutely breathtaking to see this ‘flying bulldog’ of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore,” said Clay Bolt, a natural history photographer specialising in bees, who took the first photos and video of the species alive after spending years researching the right habitat with collaborator and team member, Eli Wyman from Princeton University. This species is the largest bee on Earth. The islands have become home to oil palm plantations that now occupy much of the former native habitat. Very little is known about its distribution and habitat requirements, although it is thought that it is restricted to primary lowland forests. He described the female bee, which is about the length a human thumb, as “a large black wasp-like insect, with immense jaws like a stag-beetle”. The association of the bee with the termite may be obligate. Only females have large jaws. [7][1], International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-1.RLTS.T4410A21426160.en, "The Triumphant Rediscovery of the Biggest Bee on Earth", "World's largest bee, once presumed extinct, filmed alive in the wild",, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 26 September 2020, at 10:04. Something went wrong. The bee wasn’t seen again until 1981, when entomologist Adam Messer rediscovered it on three Indonesian islands and was able to observe some of its behaviour, including how it uses its mandibles to gather resin and wood for its nests. Give yourself a thumbs up, and now imagine your thumb with gigantic wings and a jaw that resembles a stag beetle. Although little is known about the bee, the species depends on primary lowland forest for resin and the nests of tree-dwelling termites, Mr Bolt said. It wasn’t until the last day of a five-day stop in an area of interest that the team found a single female Wallace’s giant bee living in an arboreal termites’ nest in a tree about 2.5 metres off the ground. Composite image by Clay Bolt. [7] The bee is among the 25 "most wanted" lost species that are the focus of Global Wildlife Conservation's "Search for Lost Species" initiative. Despite its conspicuous size, the bee was thought to be extinct since 1981. Though it should be easy enough to see, some had believed it was extinct because it hadn't been seen by western scientists since 1981. Second "Search for Lost Species" rediscovery in the wild after 38 years missing. Please check your email for further instructions. © 2020 Global Wildlife Conservation. Download photos, video and background material. Female bees leave their nests repeatedly to forage for resin, which comes frequently from Anisoptera thurifera. “To see how beautiful and big the species is in real life, to hear the sound of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just incredible. The bee is named after Alfred Russell Wallace, the co-discoverer alongside Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution through natural selection. Megachile pluto, also known as Wallace's giant bee or raja ofu/rotu ofu (king/queen of the bees in Indonesian),[2] is a very large Indonesian resin bee. Take Wallace's giant bee ( Megachile pluto ), the world's largest bee, which can grow up to the size of an adult human's thumb — five times the size of the European honeybees you're used to seeing — with large mandibles used for scraping up tree resin to line their nests. There were no further confirmed sightings until two were collected and sold on eBay in 2018. Receive email updates about lost species and other GWC conservation programs. [5] It is "as long as an adult's thumb". A documentary film, In Search of the Giant Bee is now being produced by Vanessa Dylyn of Matter of Fact Media, in association with Glen Chilton.“, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Wallace’s Giant Bee – A Bee The Size of Your Thumb – Rediscovered For First Time in Decades, Video: ‘The Descendants’ Featuring Adam & Kimmi Greentree Puts Emphasis On What Hunting Truly Means, Video: Rare Michigan Lynx Sighting in Family’s Backyard, New FLIR Scion OTM with Wi-Fi Launched for Outdoor Enthusiasts, SHOT Show 2019: New Zippo HeatBank Handwarmers, Rugged Lanterns, and More New Products, SHOT Show 2019: New Offerings from Leupold Optics – Including Upgraded LTO Tracker Models, Drugs, Not Bear Attack, Killed Tennessee Man in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Video: Colorado Trail Runner Who Strangled Attacking Mountain Lion Shares Story, Two Men Arrested For Stealing More Than 60 Machine Guns and Silencers From SHOT Show: Here’s The ATF Affidavit, UPDATE: Huron-Manistee National Forest Service Delays Michigan Rivers Alcohol Ban, Massive 20-Pound Goldfish Reeled In By Avid Kentucky Angler, The First Case of Treponema Associated Hoof Disease Has Been Confirmed in Idaho, Mutant Blue-Eyed Coyotes May Be Spreading Across California, New Report Says Worldwide Insect Decline Could Devastate Nature’s Ecosystems, Video: Savage Eagle Catches Fish Dinner After Angler Improperly Practices Catch & Release, Video: State of Emergency Declared After Mass Polar Bear Invasion Raids Russian Town, Video: The Sea Lions In Cabo San Lucas Aren’t Very Shy.. 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