The world’s largest bee is a big, black wasp-like insect as long as an adult’s thumb, and it was extinct — or so scientists thought. The massive bee was rediscovered alive in Indonesia last month, decades after it was last seen.
Wallace’s Giant Bee was named after discoverer Alfred Russell Wallace, who found the massive species in 1958. The last time a specimen was spotted was 1981. In January 2019, a group retraced Wallace’s steps and journeyed to Indonesia to see if they could find the bee. Their long trek paid off.
Natural history and conservation photographer Clay Bolt described the team’s five-day search for Global Wildlife Conservation. On the last day of their expedition, everyone on the team had fallen ill, but they persisted and eventually came across what they believed to be a bee’s nest. Bolt called it “the most remarkable thing I’d ever laid my eyes on.”