The world's largest bee, no longer documented by scientists since 1981, has been rediscovered by a team of conservationists and international researchers in a remote part of Indonesia.
The team found the first specimens of Megachile Pluto, at Insect commonly known as Wallace's Giant Bee, which is about the size of a human thumb on the northern Moluccan islands of the archipelago last month.
On Thursday, they released pictures and videos of a nest and its queen that her find was the "holy grail" of species discovery.
"In the midst of such a well-documented worldwide decline in insect diversity, it's wonderful to discover that this iconic species still clings," said Simon Robson, a member of the team and professor at the University of Sydney.
Despite their striking size, Wallace's giant bee has not been observed in the wild since 1
BREAKING: Died for science since 1981 and extinct for some, Wallace's giant bee (Megachile pluto) was rediscovered in Indonesia by an international team of scientists and conservationists. pic.twitter.com/VoDp43LRG2
– Australian Academy of Sciences (@Science_Academy) February 21, 2019
The announcement by the government promises that more forests in the region will be home to these very rare species said the team, which includes researchers from the University of Sydney, Saint Mary's University in Canada and Princeton University in the United States.
Female bee specimens can reach a length of 3.8 centimeters and have a wing span of more than six inches. Males grow to be about 2.3 inches tall.
"It was absolutely breathtaking to see this" flying bulldog "of an insect that we no longer knew existed," said Clay Bolt, a nature photographer who took the first photos and video of the huge ones Bees
"To see how beautiful and tall the species is in real life, to hear the huge wings knocking as they passed my head, was just incredible," Bolt said. "My dream is to take advantage of this rediscovery now to make this bee a symbol of conservation in this part of Indonesia."
|A photomontage showing a living Wallace giant bee (right), about four times larger than a European honey bee [Clay Bolt/Global Wildlife Conservation/AFP]|
The insect was named after the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, the evolutionary theory before Charles Darwin's published contributions formulated by natural selection.
Wallace first collected the species in 1858 when he explored the Indonesian island of Bacan.
The bee was extinct until rediscovered in 1981 by American entomologist Adam Messer, who found six nests on Bacan Island and two other nearby islands. It had not been seen since.
Eli Wyman, a Princeton University researcher, said Messer's find has provided some insights, "but we still know next to nothing about this extraordinary insect."
"I hope this rediscovery" This will stimulate research that will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of this unique bee and inform future efforts to protect against extinction, "said Wyman.
Global Wildlife Conservation, a Texas-based Non-profit organization, the Search for Lost operates species program, placed the giant bee of Wallace on their list of the "Top 25 most sought after species."
Researchers said the forest destruction in Indonesia for agriculture threatens the habitat for this species and many others.
Between 2001 and 2017 According to Global Forest Watch, Indonesia lost 15 percent of its tree cover.
Al Jazeera and news agencies