Science

World’s greatest bee rediscovered after many years on ‘most wished’ listing


A large bee thought misplaced to the world for many years has been discovered once more on an Indonesian island.

The black bee is the scale of a human thumb, with a wingspan of 6 centimetres and fierce-looking mandibles. A lone specimen was rediscovered by Simon Robson of the College of Sydney and his colleagues. “She simply got here and appeared round and went again to her nest,” he says.

Megachile pluto is also referred to as Wallace’s Big Bee, named after the English entomologist Alfred Russel Wallace, who, together with Charles Darwin, is credited with growing the idea of evolution by pure choice.

Wallace found the bee in 1859 whereas exploring the tropical Indonesian island of Bacan. He described it as “a big black wasp-like insect, with immense jaws like a stag-beetle”. In 1860, an entomologist within the UK decided it was truly a bee, saying it was a “large of the genus to which it belongs”.

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Megachile plutois is approximately four times larger than a European honeybeeMegachile pluto is roughly 4 instances the scale of a European honeybee

Clay Bolt/claybolt.com

The bee has a historical past of disappearing. It was believed to be extinct till its unintentional rediscovery by a US forester in Indonesia in 1981, however the lack of one other sighting led the International Wildlife Conservation to incorporate it on their “25 most wished” misplaced species listing in 2017.

Robson’s group discovered the bee in a termite’s mound a couple of metres off the bottom whereas looking out on one in all Indonesia’s North Moluccas islands.

“We ran round cheering and shouting and hugging one another,” he says. “In spite of everything these years, and all of the individuals who tried to seek out it, it was nonetheless alive.”

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