Megachile pluto is a large resin bee whose body length may reach 38 mm and a wingspan of 63.5 mm. But that's nothing compared to the prehistoric and extinct Meganisoptera including the Meganeura, which had 'dragonflies' whose wingspan exceeded 70 centimeters! 😱

There are "recent studies" linking animal gigantism in the Paleolithic to the increased atmospheric oxygen content.

Considering the size of some prehistoric insects I can't help but wonder: how big was the world's biggest insect(oid?) flying pollinator? 🐝

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    $\begingroup$ Define what criteria you're using for big: wingspan, body length, mass, or ? Also, if the Meganeura were like modern dragonflies, they were probably predators, not pollinators. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jul 29 '20 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ Good question. Wingspan might be a fairly good measure, or body length. With no answers so far I'll gladly settle for ANY measure of size at this point. -- As for the huge dragonflies being predatory? I'll be in my bunker. $\endgroup$
    – Xunie
    Jul 29 '20 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ keep in mind flowering plants did not evolve until the Jurassic. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 29 '20 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ Meganeura is from the carboniferous 360Mya, currently the biggest non insectoid is an 8 inch hummingbird. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_hummingbird?wprov=sfla1 $\endgroup$ Aug 15 '20 at 2:02
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    $\begingroup$ @aliential: I'd say the largest non-insect pollinator is probably H. sapiens. It's a learned behavior, though. For mass rather than wingspan, I'll offer the hawk moths, some of which are indistinguishable from hummingbirds without close examination. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Aug 15 '20 at 5:14

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