Thursday, June 20, 2019
Home World "A sound of huge wings": Biggest bee in the world found again

"A sound of huge wings": Biggest bee in the world found again

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<p class=A German leafcutter bee (Megachile willughbiella) is small in comparison to the giant bee (Megachile pluto).

imago / perspective

A researcher on a remote Indonesian island has made a killer: the Wallace giant bee was considered extinct for many years. Now, in the wilderness of the northern Moluccas, Clay Bolt immediately struck a whole hive.

All black and about the size of a human thumb: the Wallace giant bee has been spotted again for decades. Researchers said they had found specimens of the world's largest bee species on a remote Indonesian island. It was "simply unbelievable" to actually "see how beautiful and tall this way is to hear the sound of its huge wings," said bee photographer Clay Bolt in a statement by environmental conservation organization Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC).

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The bee species was discovered in the 19th century by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace and last sighted in the wild in 1981, according to GWC. Bolt now found a hive on an island in the northern Moluccas. "My dream now is to make this bee a symbol of environmental protection in this part of Indonesia," said the photographer.

The bee with the Latin name Megachile pluto is about four times the size of a honeybee. Bee expert Eli Wyman of Princeton University hopes the find will trigger further research "that will give us a better understanding of the life history of this very unique bee" and protect it from extinction. On the red list of endangered species of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the giant bee is listed as "endangered".

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