WEBCAST: Assassin Flies - Predators of the Insect World

Torsten Dikow in a blue, checked shirt sitting at a microscope with a box of pinned insects.

Entomologist Dr. Torsten Dikow examining flies at his microscope. Smithsonian image.

LIVE WEBCAST: April 6, 2017, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. EDT

Smithsonian Science How: Assassin Flies - Predators of the Insect World

Featuring Entomologist Torsten Dikow

Meet Dr. Torsten Dikow, an entomologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Marvel at how predatory assassin flies are able to catch other insects, even larger ones, during flight. Learn about the incredible biodiversity of these flies, with more than 7,500 species distributed around the globe. Accompany Torsten on a journey through southern Africa, Australia, and the U.S., where he captures flies to figure out their evolutionary relationships. See how Torsten has been able to describe almost 70 new species of assassin and related flies by examining their body features and DNA. Register 

How do you participate in the webcast program?

1. REGISTER for the webcast

   2. WATCH the live webcast

      3. Get TEACHING RESOURCES for the webcast

         4. Design an ASSESSMENT for your students

            5. Take the webcast SURVEY

               6. Consult the webcast TECH GUIDE (PDF)


The Assassin Fly webcast package supports students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations by offering a set of resources that integrate science concepts with science practice skills.

MS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • MS-LS1-4 Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-2. Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships
  • MS-LS4-4 Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment