Megachile pluto Smith, 1860

Wallace's giant bee, Giant mason bee



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Chalcidoma pluto (Smith, 1860); Chalicodoma pluto (Smith, 1860)


Conservation Status

Last record: 1858 or 1859

Rediscovered in 1981

IUCN RedList status: Vulnerable


A single specimen was collected in 1858 or 1859 by Alfred Russel Wallace. The species then went missing until it was rediscovered by Adam Messer in 1981. It then allegedly went missing a second time until it was collected on Bacan in February 2018, but a museum specimen had been collected during the 1990's.



Bacan, Halmahera and Tidore, North Moluccas, Indonesia


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Smith, Frederick. (1860). Catalogue of hymenopterous insects collected by Mr. A.R. Wallace in the islands of Bachian, Kaisaa, Amboyna, Gilolo, and at Dory in New Guinea. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society, Zoology 5: 93-143.


Other references:

Dollin, Anne. (2001). The largest bee in the world. Available at: [accessed 16 June 2018]

Groombridge, B. (ed.). (1994). 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. (1990). IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Kuhlmann, M. (2014). Megachile pluto. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T4410A21426160. Downloaded on 12 March 2017.

Messer, Adam Catton. (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. [Abstract]

Vereecken, Nicolas J. (2018). Wallace’s Giant Bee for sale: implications for trade regulation and conservation. Journal of Insect Conservation 22(1): 807-811.

Wells, S.M., Pyle, R.M. and Collins, N.M. (compilers). (1983). The IUCN Invertebrate Red Data Book. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.


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