If you have a bee phobia , you might want to look away now but wait a minute and read through.The world’s largest bee has been rediscovered in Indonesia’s North Moluccas islands, 38 years after it was last seen.
The terrifying creature, called Wallace’s giant bee, has an estimated wingspan of 2.5 inches and is around the same size as a human adult thumb.And just to make things worse, it also has enormous jaws.
Clay Bolt, who was the first to photograph the bee, said: “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.
“To actually see how beautiful 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.
“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.”
The team spent five days looking for the bee, and eventually found it living in a termite’s nest in a tree, about eight feet off the ground.
Wallace’s giant bee was first discovered in 1858 by British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, who described it as ‘a large black wasp-like insect, with immense jaws like a stay-beetle.’
However, the bee then wasn’t seen again until 1981, and since then, has remained elusive. Sadly, because of the bee’s impressive size and rare status, it’s also a prime target for wildlife trade collectors.
Eli Wyman, an entomologist at Princeton University, said: “We still know next to nothing about this extraordinary insect.
“I hope this rediscovery will spark future research that will give us a deeper understanding of the life history of this very unique bee and inform any future efforts to protect it from extinction.”
Robin Moore, senior director of digital content and media at Global Wildlife Conservation, said: “We know that putting the news out about this rediscovery could seem like a big risk given the demand, but the reality is that unscrupulous collectors already know that the bee is out there.
“The bee’s protection moving forward is going to rely first on the appropriate government officials and stakeholders knowing that the bee even exists, and then their willingness to help protect it.
“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.”