“The world’s largest bee may also be the planet’s most elusive. First discovered in 1859 by the prominent scientist Alfred Russel Wallace, nobody could locate it again, and it was presumed extinct.

Drawing of Megachile pluto bee
The female Megachile pluto, shown here in this drawing by Dr H Friese (1911), is covered with velvety black fur but she has a band of white fur on the front part of her abdomen. She has enormous jaws for collecting resin. {Wikipedia, copyright PD-US}

But Wallace’s giant bee (Megachile pluto) was not gone. In 1981, an entomologist named Adam Messer searched and found it on three islands in Indonesia, on an archipelago called the North Moluccas. He collected a specimen and wrote about his discovery in 1984.

Now, for the first time, it has been photographed and filmed alive in the wild, by a team including nature photographer Clay Bolt. Meanwhile, in the last year, two specimens of the insect have been sold on eBay for thousands of dollars, raising fears about its continued survival.”

View the full article, including a video of the Wallace’s giant bee this team found in Indonesia.

National Geographic

Douglas Main