Scientists have re-discovered the world’s largest bee, once thought lost to science for decades.
The giant bee measures as long as the thumb of an adult. Researchers found it on an unexplored Indonesian island.
After searching for days, wildlife experts came across a single live female. Excited at their find, they filmed and photographed the lone female.
Also known as Wallace’s giant bee, named after the British explorer and naturalist Alfred Wallace who described it in 1858.
Back in 1981, scientists found various specimens on a few Indonesian Islands. Even though there haven’t been any spotted since, there was one report the previous year of two bee specimens for sale online.
Adventuring for the World’s Largest Bee and other Lost Species
January saw a team following in Wallace’s footsteps through Indonesia to find and photograph the large bee.
Photographer Clay Bolt took the first photos and videos of the species. He said it was breathtaking to see what he called a flying bulldog of an insect. Mainly since it wasn’t certain they existed anymore.
The explorers found the bee in the Indonesian Islands known as the North Moluccas. This find raises hope that the forests in that ara still harbor one of the rarest and sought after insects in the world.
Currently, there are no legal protections to its trade.
Eli Wyman, the bee expert on the mission, is an entomologist at Princeton University. He hopes the rediscovery would begin research towards a better understanding of the life and history of the bee. This information could help future work to protect it from extinction.
The listing for the giant bee is currently under vulnerable to extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The international trade of this species, however, is not under any restrictions at this time by the Convention on International Trade for Endangered Species.
Global Wildlife Conservation, an environmental group, has launched a hunt worldwide for lost species. They are the group that supported the trip on which the giant bee was found.
Making the bee world famous as a flagship for conservation, GWC is confident the species can make a comeback, or at least have a better future than if we simply let them fade into oblivion.