World's largest bee, lost since 1981, rediscovered in the wild

An image of a living Wallace’s giant bee compared to a honeybee

An image of a living Wallace’s giant bee compared to

He said female bees appear to be "very docile", and that unlike social honeybees, they do not tend to sting.

A team of researchers funded by the Global Wildlife Conservation went out to Indonesia with hopes of photographing a Wallace's Giant Bee (otherwise known as Megachile pluto) and they did just that, according to the statement.

Prior to this discovery, the bee was thought to have become extinct as well before Messer found six nests on the island of Bacan and other nearby islands.

The Global Wildlife Conservation is a nonproft that's been searching for "lost" species, or species that might not actually be extinct, but haven't been seen in a decade or more.

The report describes the bee as being about the size of an adult thumb with a wingspan of about 2.5 inches.

As has been the case with other historic perceptions about bees, the king bee turned out to be a queen: the females are far larger than the males, which measure less than one inch in length.

"It was absolutely breathtaking to see this "flying bulldog" of an insect that we weren't sure existed any more", said Clay Bolt, a specialist photographer who obtained the first images of the species alive. The bees live up to their reputation.

"To actually see how lovely and big the species is in life, to hear the sound of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just incredible", Bolt, who captured the insects on film, said in a statement.

But those huge jaws "aren't for nipping", Gizmodo reported.

A Wallace's giant bee compared to a European honeybee.

Professor Simon Robson, from the University of Sydney, who was part of the team who rediscovered the bee, told Ross and John they haven't named the island where the bee was found on objective.

The rediscovery is being celebrated by entomologists, but scientists anxious about the species vulnerable status are concerned the publicity will put the giant bee in danger. But those apian relatives are nowhere near as imposing as Wallace's giant bee, he added.

"It's just ridiculously large and so exciting", Robson said, according to the Times.

Natural history photographer Clay Bolt makes the first-ever photos of a living Wallace's Giant Bee at its nest, which is found in active termite mounds in the North Moluccas, Indonesia.

The team now plans to collaborate with Indonesian researchers in hope of finding the bee in other places, the University of Sydney announced.

"To see how lovely and big the species is in real life, to hear the sound of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just incredible".

'My dream is to now use this rediscovery to elevate this bee to a symbol of conservation in this part of Indonesia, and a point of pride for the locals there'.

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