World’s Largest Species of Bee Found in Indonesia After Disappearing 40 Years Ago

Known as Wallace’s Giant Bee, the world’s largest species of bee has recently been rediscovered on a remote Indonesian island. The species of bee was last seen in 1981 and was thought to be extinct.

After being the first person to take photos and video of the bee, photographer Clay Bolt told BBC, “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.” He continued, “To actually see how beautiful and big the species is in life, to hear the sounds of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just incredible.”

The species of bee can grow to be up to 1.5 inches long with a wingspan of 2.5 inches.

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British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace first discovered the species of bee in 1858 and described the bee as having a two-inch wing span. Global Wildlife Conservation funded the most recent trip in rediscovering the species of bee. The group has sponsored numerous trips to rediscover animals believed to have gone extinct. They believe that finding rare species will help push people towards conservation.

The team who rediscovered the bee said they will not reveal the Indonesian island in which in inhabits in order to protect it from collectors. In 2018, a specimen of the species was sold on eBay for $9,100.

Global Wildlife Conservation Communication Director, Robin Moore said, “By making the bee a world-famous flagship for conservation, we are confident that the species has a brighter future than if we just let it quietly be collected into oblivion.”

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