The world’s largest bee has been rediscovered after 38 years
A team of researchers rediscovered the world’s largest bee after 38 years, in a recent expedition in Indonesia. Once thought to be extinct, these bees are 4 times bigger than honeybees and its name is Wallace’s Giant Bee. Female bees are around 1.5 inches long, with a wingspan of about 2.5 inches whereas males can grow up-to 0.9-inch only.
The bee got the name from its discoverer Alfred Russel Wallace who discovered it in 1859. Wallace was a British naturalist who used to work with Charles Darwin. Though these bees are giant, they are hard to find due to its habit, habitat and its rarity.
The second sighting of this insect was in 1981 by Adam Messer. Dr. Messer observed that this bees are solitary lovers and they make balls from tree resins to build nests.
“It was absolutely breathtaking to see this ‘flying bulldog’ of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore, to have real proof right there in front of us in the wild”
Clay Bolt photographed the Wallace Bee after 38 years and showcased the world that the largest bee is not extinct.
“I hope this rediscovery will spark future research that will give us a deeper understanding of the life history of this very unique bee and inform any future efforts to protect it from extinction,” said Eli Wyman, an entomologist at Princeton University who accompanied Bolt on the trip.
The excitation of this discovery also comes with mixed feeling among conservationist and biologist. Rapid deforestation in Indonesia is causing major habitat loss not only for this giant insect but also for the other endangered species in the island nation.
Article by Kartikay Shukla
Edited by M R Raghul
He is a PhD scholar in Science and Technology Communication in National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (erstwhile CSIR-NISCAIR) one of the prestigious labs of CSIR in India. He is trained in popularizing science through writing, graphic designing and outreach programs. Currently, he is associated with an NGO name Search for Truth and Return to Science as a volunteer. He did his Master of Science in Science and Technology Communication from CSIR- National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR), New Delhi and he completed his Bachelor of Science in Physics, Computer Science and Mathematics from Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar Uttarakhand.