As a bee enthusiast and future conservationist I just HAD to share this amazing story. 🥰🥰😍😍😍❤❤❤
Firstly I’ll explain more about the bee though to give you an adequate backstory and more information about the species and its prior discovery.
Megachile pluto, also known as Wallace’s giant bee, is a very large Indonesian resin bee and the largest known living bee species.
Given the common name ‘Wallace giant bee’, It was originally discovered by British naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace in 1856 whilst exploring the tropical Indonesian Island Bacan. Wallace described it in his notes as having “immense jaws, flying round in mountain forest with loud beetle like hum!!” Wallace’s specimen with tag is in the Hope Entomological Collection, Oxford.
The species exhibits strong sexual dimorphism; females can reach a length of 38 mm, with a wingspan of 63.5 mm and are the only ones with a large jaw, but the males only grow to about a mere 23 mm long. Wallace’s giant bee is easily distinguished from other bees due to its large size (being compared to the size of a human thumb) and jaws, but also a notable white band on the abdomen.
Wallace’s giant bee has only been reported from three islands of the North Moluccas in Indonesia: Bacan, Halmahera and Tidore.
Very little is known about its distribution and habitat requirements, although it is thought that it is restricted to primary lowland forests. The islands have become home to oil palm plantations that now occupy much of the former native habitat. This has caused the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to label this species as Vulnerable.
The Wallace giant bee was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1981 by Adam C. Messer, an American entomologist, who found six nests on the island of Bacan and other nearby islands, being among the 25 “most wanted lost” species that are the focus of Global Wildlife Conservation’s “Search for Lost Species” initiative it was very important for scientists to rediscover this fascinating species again.
After 1981, the bee was not observed in the wild for the next 38 years and this takes us until today!
World’s largest bee discovered after 38 years.
The team found the first specimens in the archipelago’s North Moluccas islands last month.
On Thursday (21st February 2019) they released images and video of a nest and its queen, saying their find was the “holy grail” of species discoveries.
Quote from the news articles- “Amid such a well-documented global decline in insect diversity, it’s wonderful to discover that this iconic species is still hanging on,” said Simon Robson, a member of the team and professor at the University of Sydney. Despite its conspicuous size, Wallace’s giant bee had not been observed in the wild since 1981, the Global Wildlife Conservation said. Several previous expeditions to the region where the bee lives failed to spot it.
Check out their Twitter for the video, here’s a screenshot of their page:
The announcement reignites hope that more of the region’s forests may be home to this very rare species and this can coincide with important conservation work to preserve this species and the habitats they live in- Between 2001 and 2017, Indonesia lost 15 percent of its tree cover, according to Global Forest Watch.
I am hoping that now this species is rediscovered I will be hearing of all the vital work to come to preserve this extraordinary species.
This post was based on the article below:
Buzz on! 🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝
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