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Image of the Day: Seeing is Bee-lieving

Four decades after it was thought to have disappeared in the wild, scientists have found a single female Wallace’s giant bee in Indonesia.

Feb 22, 2019
Carolyn Wilke

ABOVE: Composite of common honey bee with Wallace’s giant bee
© CLAY BOLT | CLAYBOLT.COM 

With a body the length of a grown human’s thumb, a two-and-a-half-inch estimated wingspan, and a big jaw to match, Wallace’s giant bee (Megachile pluto) claims the title for the world’s largest bee. Last seen in 1981, the species was feared to have gone extinct. But on a mission to search for the bee in Indonesia, a team of naturalists found a single female hanging out near a termite mound, they announced yesterday (February 21) in a statement. Female Wallace's giant bees make their nests in termite mounds, which they line using resin that they collect from trees with their pronounced mandibles.  

The giant bee nests in active termite mounds.
© SIMON ROBSON

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