(WHDH) — An extremely rare bee that is considered to be the largest in the world was feared to be extinct for nearly 40 years. That’s not the case anymore.
Wallace’s Giant Bee, which Life Science described as a “nightmare” of a creature, was spotted in the Indonesian province of North Maluku in January. Researchers had not seen the bee since 1981.
The giant insects are said to boast a 2.5-inch wingspan, along with “enormous mandibles.”
“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,” said Clay Bolt, a natural history photographer specializing in bees, who took the first photos and video of the species alive after spending years researching the right habitat type with trip partner, Eli Wyman.
The insects are about four times larger than the common honey bee or about as long as a human thumb. They typically build their nests in termite dwellings.
“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,” Bolt added. “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.”
Because of the bee’s impressive size and rare status, the species has been a target for wildlife trade collectors, researchers said.
For more information, visit Global Wildlife Conservation.
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