Science and Nature

Insectarium

Entomologist and museum curator Jessica Ware will introduce us to insects that upend our expectations and a diverse group of scientists who are passionate about the six-legged critters all around us. Forget about pandas–we’re here to make you fall in love with mandibles! The series is produced for PBS by the American Museum of Natural History.

How Mantises Became Nature’s Strangest Assassins

10m 50s

Mantises may look unearthly, but they’re uniquely adapted to life on this planet. These incredible hunters have repeatedly evolved into “ecomorphs”—groups that aren’t closely related, but share incredible adaptations to similar habitats. This happens so consistently in their history that it’s almost baffling. Do these dazzling displays of convergence have something to tell us about evolution?

Episodes

  • How Mantises Became Nature’s Strangest Assassins: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Mantises Became Nature’s Strangest Assassins

    S1 E8 - 10m 50s

    Mantises may look unearthly, but they’re uniquely adapted to life on this planet. These incredible hunters have repeatedly evolved into “ecomorphs”—groups that aren’t closely related, but share incredible adaptations to similar habitats. This happens so consistently in their history that it’s almost baffling. Do these dazzling displays of convergence have something to tell us about evolution?

  • How Ants Make Our Cities Healthier: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Ants Make Our Cities Healthier

    S1 E7 - 11m 4s

    There are incredible miniature civilizations booming within our concrete jungles: ants! We don’t often think of urban areas as having “ecologies” but Amy Savage, Ph.D. studies the amazing diversity of ants making it work and how their newfound love of our cast-off carbs is making our cities greener.

  • Why Bumble Bees Are the Fuzzy Heroes We Need: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Why Bumble Bees Are the Fuzzy Heroes We Need

    S1 E6 - 11m 4s

    If the insect world has a fuzzy, charismatic cutie, it’s surely the humble bumble bee. While insect populations are declining around the globe, bumble bees face unique threats that make them particularly vulnerable. Surveying projects across the U.S. are combining the forces of researchers and community scientists to help protect these critical native pollinators.

  • Butterfly Effect: Can Monarchs Avoid Extinction?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Butterfly Effect: Can Monarchs Avoid Extinction?

    S1 E5 - 11m 20s

    Why are monarch butterflies disappearing? You may know them for their amazing migration, but over the past few decades, monarch butterflies have been part of a vanishing act that has scientists worried. Conservation biologists Ashley Fisher and Isis Howard show us what it takes to track monarch butterflies at an overwintering spot as they try to figure out what’s behind the population plunge.

  • For Your Consideration: The Incredible… Roach!: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    For Your Consideration: The Incredible… Roach!

    S1 E4 - 10m 53s

    You need roaches in your life. No, not the few pest species you might recognize scurrying on the floor, but some of their amazing, underrated cousins. Cockroaches are surprisingly diverse (there are even beautiful ones!), and crucial contributors to ecosystems worldwide. Entomologist and pest control specialist Megan Wilson, Ph.D., helps us change our perspective on these six-legged frenemies.

  • Pssst: Ladybugs Have a Killer Secret: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Pssst: Ladybugs Have a Killer Secret

    S1 E3 - 11m 10s

    Ladybugs aren’t just cute nursery rhyme stars. Beneath the charming spots and vibrant colors lie killer instincts. They’re effective predators and sometime agricultural allies in their hunger for plant pests like aphids. Entomologist Sara Hermann, Ph.D. is investigating how ladybugs’ “perfume”—the chemical cocktail that makes up their odor—might even become a tool for sustainable agriculture.

  • What Makes Dragonflies So Extraordinary: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    What Makes Dragonflies So Extraordinary

    S1 E2 - 10m 46s

    Before bats, before birds, before pterosaurs, a dragonfly-like insect was probably the first thing to fly on Earth. From nocturnal “shadow dragons” to iridescent species stalking prey during the day, this incredibly diverse group of insects are spectacular aerialists. Our host Dr. Jessica Ware plays air traffic control on the pond to help us discover what makes dragonflies such remarkable fliers.

  • Fireflies' Love Language Is Their Butts: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Fireflies' Love Language Is Their Butts

    S1 E1 - 9m 59s

    On warm nights, city lots and rolling rural meadows come alive with the blinking code of fireflies. But it’s not just how they’re flashing that’s interesting—it’s why. Each species of firefly has its own light language to find a mate. Host Jessica Ware helps us decode firefly flirting and meets a high school researcher on a quest to understand how we can keep our summers twinkling with fireflies.

WETA Passport

Stream tens of thousands of hours of your PBS and local favorites with WETA Passport whenever and wherever you want. Catch up on a single episode or binge-watch full seasons before they air on TV.

Similar Shows

Poster Image
NOVA: show-poster2x3

NOVA

Science and Nature