It is not a chimera and is not extinct (as was thought) the giant bee of Wallace (Megachile pluto), the insect that takes its name from the British explorer Alfred Russel Wallace, who described it in 1858: despite its impressive dimensions, with females reaching 4 centimeters with a 6 cm wingspan, this Indonesian bee is a true rarity, always very elusive. Only sporadically, after the discovery, there have been reports of sightings - which have never been confirmed.

Until, in 1981, the American entomologist Adam Messer did not confirm the existence of it on three of the islands of the Moluccas (Indonesia). After that, however, no other official sighting until 2018, when a specimen that had recently died and was in a good state of repair was auctioned on eBay at the considerable sum of $ 9, 100. That bee had to be lived somewhere!

insects, entomology, melittologia, study of bees, giant bee of Wallace, Megachile pluto | University of Georgia, Clay Bolt / Elab.

Thus, in January, a team of researchers funded by the Global Wildlife Conservation, on the trail of Wallace (also) in search of the giant bee and finally found a live female on the Island of the North Moluccas.

The nest with termites. Clay Bolt, a nature photographer following the expedition, tells us about the rediscovery: "It was an incredible emotion to find ourselves almost suddenly in front of this flying bulldog that we thought was extinct, to see it flying right over our heads". The expedition also documented that the female had built her nest near a nest of termites, isolating it from the latter (to avoid intrusions) with the resin collected from the trees with its giant jaws.

insects, entomology, melittologia, study of bees, giant bee of Wallace, Megachile pluto VIDEO - Wallace's giant bee (Megachile pluto), rediscovered in Indonesia. |

The giant bee has therefore survived an extinction now given for certain, in a very limited habitat but, evidently, adequate for the maintenance of the species: it is now a matter of studying it, as well as trying to keep it alive.