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Giant Bee Rediscovered After 4 Decades

Giant Bee Rediscovered After 4 Decades
(Stavenn/Wikimedia Commons)

By    |   Thursday, 21 February 2019 01:18 PM

Scientists rediscovered a giant bee four decades after the species went missing, providing a sliver of hope amid news that insect populations are declining at an alarming rate, Wired reported.

Warning bells went off recently when a report emerged noting massive declines in numerous insect species, so when Simon Robson of the University of Sydney and his colleagues stumbled across the massive lone bee while traipsing through an Indonesian Island, they were delighted. 

"She just came and looked around and went back to her nest,” Robson said, according to NewScientist. "We ran around cheering and shouting and hugging each other. After all these years, and all the people who tried to find it, it was still alive.”

Megachile pluto, which is also known as Wallace’s Giant Bee, has a wingspan of two and a half inches and is four times bigger than a European honeybee, according to Wired. The specie was named after entomologist Alfred Russel Wallace who discovered the bee in 1859 and described it as "a large black wasp-like insect, with immense jaws like a stag-beetle."

This is not the first time the giant bee has disappeared, only to be rediscovered years later. The species was previously thought to be extinct until a U.S. forester in Indonesia accidentally rediscovered it in 1981. However, in 2017 the Global Wildlife Conservation to added the bee to its "25 most wanted” lost species list after it was not spotted again. That changed last month when the team of experts ventured into the thick of an Indonesian Island in search of termite mounds in trees last month. 

"Our guide shimmied up the tree and looked inside with his cell phone flashlight and noticed something move," said Clay Bolt, who was part of the team, according to Wired. "He jumped down because he was terrified of snakes.”

When Bolt went to investigate, he came across the giant bee.

"It was an incredible moment to realize that we came all this way, other people have looked for it, and here we were: filthy and sweaty and we somehow found this insect," he said, according to Earther. "This really offered me hope. There’s so much bad news that’s coming out, with all these species being lost, and I think sometimes it’s easy to just give up and say ‘there’s no hope for anything’."

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TheWire
Scientists rediscovered a giant bee four decades after the species went missing, providing a sliver of hope amid news that insect populations are declining at an alarming rate, Wired reported.
giant bee, rediscovered
390
2019-18-21
Thursday, 21 February 2019 01:18 PM
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