The world's largest bee, which had not been seen since 1981, has been rediscovered in Indonesia, scientists said as they released images of the insect.
A team of conservationists and international scientists found the first specimens of Megachile Pluto, commonly known as Wallace's giant bee, in Indonesia's North Moluccas islands in January.
On Thursday they released photographs and video of a nest and its queen, saying their find was the "holy grail" of species discoveries.
"Amid such a well-documented global decline in insect diversity it's wonderful to discover that this iconic species is still hanging on," Simon Robson, a member of the team and professor at the University of Sydney, said.
Female specimens of the bee can reach a length of 3.8cm and have a wingspan of more than 6cm, while males grow to about 2.3cm.
The insect is named after British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who formulated the theory of evolution by natural selection before Charles Darwin's published contributions.
Wallace collected the species for the first time in 1858 while exploring the Indonesian island of Bacan.
The bee was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1981 by Adam Messer, an American entomologist, who found six nests on the island of Bacan and two other nearby islands. It had not been seen again since.
Eli Wyman, a researcher from Princeton University, said Messer's find had given some insight "but we still know next to nothing" about the insect.
Global Wildlife Conservation, a Texas-based non-profit organization that runs a Search for Lost Species programme, put Wallace's giant bee on its list of the "top 25 most wanted lost species."
Researchers said forest destruction in Indonesia for agriculture threatens the habitat for this species and many others.
Australian Associated Press