Thumb-sized bee, the world's biggest, rediscovered in the wild after nearly 40 years

The world's largest bee has been re-discovered, after not having been sighted for nearly 40 years.

The bee was found in the Indonesian province of North Maluku on the Maluku Islands and is as long as an adult's thumb.

It sports a large set of jaws and is known as Wallace's giant bee - after the British explorer Alfred Russel Wallace, who named it in 1858, the BBC reports.

A number of the bees were spotted by scientists in 1981 but none had been seen since.

However, last month a scientific expedition retraced Wallace's journey in Indonesia in the hopes of finding the bees.

The team was successful and managed to capture a single female bee.

"It was absolutely breathtaking to see this 'flying bulldog' of an insect that we weren't sure existed anymore, to have real proof right there in front of us in the wild," natural history photographer Clay Bolt, who captured the images of the giant, said in a statement published by The University of Sydney in Australia.

"To actually see how beautiful and big the species is in life, to hear the sound of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just incredible."

Wallace's giant bee. Source: University of Georgia

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