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World’s largest bee feared extinct found after almost 40 years

With a wingspan of six centimetres and a body the size of a human thumb, the Megachile pluto is considered the world’s largest bee, and was feared extinct.

Commonly known as Wallace’s Giant Bee, it’s approximately ten times larger than a European honey bee.

It’s been 38 years since scientists last spotted the rare species found only in a group of Indonesian islands.

Professor Simon Robson, from the University of Sydney, who was part of the team who rediscovered the bee, told Ross and John they haven’t named the island where the bee was found on purpose.

“It was discovered by Alfred Russell Wallace in 1859 and it had only been found once since that date in 1981,” Professor Robson said.

“So we weren’t sure if it still existed.

“Four of us got together to see if we could find it, and fortunately we did!”

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Image: Natural history photographer Clay Bolt + Professor Simon Robson