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Smithsonian Science How Webcast

Assassin Flies - Predators of the Insect World

In this video, entomologist Torsten Dikow discusses the evolution, biodiversity, and behavior of assassin flies. 


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. This show aired April 6, 2017.



National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Life Science


From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • MS-LS1-4Use 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.


Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • MS-LS2-1Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.


Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  • MS-LS4-2Apply 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-LS4-4Construct 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.

All Q?rius Resources for These Standards

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