Megachile pluto

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Megachile pluto
Stavenn Megachile pluto.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Megachilidae
Genus: Megachile
Subgenus: M. (Chalicodoma)
Species: M. pluto
Binomial name
Megachile pluto
B. Smith ex Wallace, 1869
Synonyms

Chalicodoma pluto

Megachile pluto is a very large Indonesian resin bee (a leafcutter bee that uses resin to make compartments in its nest). Females can be as large as 39 mm (1.5") long with a wingspan of 63 mm (2.5"), Megachile pluto is regarded as the largest bee in the world, and has been referred to as Wallace's giant bee. Males only grow to about 23 mm (0.9") long.

Megachile pluto was first discovered in Indonesia in 1858 by the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. It was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1981 by Adam C. Messer, an American entomologist, who found six nests on the island of Bacan and other nearby islands.

These bees build their nests inside active termite nests, which explains why even island residents were unaware of their existence.

References[edit]

Messer, A. C. (1984). "Chalicodoma pluto: The World's Largest Bee Rediscovered Living Communally in Termite Nests (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)". Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 57 (1): 165–168. JSTOR 25084498.