Credit by Giant bee © Cary Bolt
The World's Biggest Bee Thought to Be Extinct Was Just Rediscovered.
NATURE Indonesia

The World's Biggest Bee Thought to Be Extinct Was Just Rediscovered.

Do you remember that movie The Mummy? Where they rediscover the Book of the Dead and summon the titular mummy, and it kills everyone? And you're left with the impression that, wow, maybe we should just leave stuff alone? Well, we've just rediscovered the world's largest bee, and maybe there are some parallels here?

That monstrosity is called Wallace's giant bee, and after decades of being thought lost, it's been sought out. To be clear, this is not a guy named Wallace's pet bee. It's the biggest type of bee and was last seen in 1981. It's around an inch and a half long, and has an inch-long tongue, a wingspan of two-and-a-half inches, and beetle-like jaws.

Scale | Cray Bolt
Scale | Cray Bolt

Wallace's giant bee was spotted for the first time in 38 years back in January on the Indonesian islands of North Moluccas after five days of searching for it. The expedition found, photographed, and filmed a single female. Wallace, by the way, was the British naturalist and explorer Alfred Russel Wallace, who along with Darwin helped develop the theory of evolution, and described the bee back in 1858.

"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, the photographer who took the photos. (We'd just like to highlight that he called it a flying bulldog.) "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," he added.

It's possible he misspoke and meant it was horrifying and terrible and Earth was a mistake.  



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