World’s largest bee, once presumed extinct, filmed alive in the wild
Wallace’s giant bee disappeared for more than a century. Now it’s back, and already being sold online by at least one collector.
The world’s largest bee may also be the planet’s most elusive. First discovered in 1859 by the prominent scientist Alfred Russel Wallace, researchers could not locate it again, and it was presumed extinct.
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