wallace's giant bee

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Wallace's Giant Bee
Scientific Name: MEGACHILE PLUTOLast Seen: 1981Year Found: 2019Years Lost: 38Red List Status: Vulnerable

Wallace’s Giant Bee was the second of the Search for Lost Species' top 25 "most wanted" species to be found. An independent search team that set out to find and photograph the bee—including natural history photographer Clay Bolt--rediscovered the species in 2019. 

Wallace's Giant Bee, with an estimated maximum wingspan of two and a half inches, is the largest bee on Earth. It was believed extinct until it was rediscovered in 1981 by American researcher Adam C. Messer, who found six nests on the island of Bacan and other nearby islands. It hasn’t been seen since. A 1984 paper touched on the life history of the bee, which exhibits uncommon communal behavior, and rediscovery offers the possibility of greater insight into the life of this fascinating creature. The species was originally collected by British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1859.

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