playlist

Insects are awesome!

Bugs are one of nature's wonders. These insect-obsessed speakers talks about how ants form societies, how bees pollinate flowers, and how termites can be quite ... tasty.

  1. 7:48
    Louie Schwartzberg The hidden beauty of pollination

    Pollination: it's vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film "Wings of Life," inspired by the vanishing of one of nature's primary pollinators, the honeybee.

  2. 20:31
    Deborah Gordon The emergent genius of ant colonies

    With a dusty backhoe, a handful of Japanese paint markers and a few students in tow, Deborah Gordon digs up ant colonies in the Arizona desert in search of keys to understanding complex systems.

  3. 17:08
    Marcus Byrne The dance of the dung beetle

    A dung beetle has a brain the size of a grain of rice, and yet shows a tremendous amount of intelligence when it comes to rolling its food source — animal excrement — home. How? It all comes down to a dance. (Filmed at TEDxWitsUniversity.)

  4. 15:57
    Marla Spivak Why bees are disappearing

    Honeybees have thrived for 50 million years, each colony 40 to 50,000 individuals coordinated in amazing harmony. So why, seven years ago, did colonies start dying en masse? Marla Spivak reveals four reasons which are interacting with tragic consequences. This is not simply a problem because bees pollinate a third of the world’s crops. Could this incredible species be holding up a mirror for us?

  5. 16:34
    Marcel Dicke Why not eat insects?

    Marcel Dicke makes an appetizing case for adding insects to everyone's diet. His message to squeamish chefs and foodies: delicacies like locusts and caterpillars compete with meat in flavor, nutrition and eco-friendliness.

  6. 13:51
    Sara Lewis The loves and lies of fireflies

    Biologist Sara Lewis has spent the past 20 years getting to the bottom of the magic and wonder of fireflies. In this charming talk, she tells us how and why the beetles produce their silent sparks, what happens when two fireflies have sex, and why one group of females is known as the firefly vampire. (It's not pretty.) Find out more astonishing facts about fireflies in Lewis' footnotes, below.

  7. 10:20
    Bart Knols 3 new ways to kill mosquitoes

    We can use a mosquito's own instincts against her. At TEDxMaastricht speaker Bart Knols demos the imaginative solutions his team is developing to fight malaria — including Limburger cheese and a deadly pill. (Filmed at TEDxMaastricht.)

  8. 15:55
    Michael Dickinson How a fly flies

    An insect's ability to fly is perhaps one of the greatest feats of evolution. Michael Dickinson looks at how a common housefly takes flight with such delicate wings, thanks to a clever flapping motion and flight muscles that are both powerful and nimble. But the secret ingredient: the incredible fly brain. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.)

  9. 5:07
    Robert Full The secrets of nature's grossest creatures, channeled into robots

    How can robots learn to stabilize on rough terrain, walk upside down, do gymnastic maneuvers in air and run into walls without harming themselves? Robert Full takes a look at the incredible body of the cockroach to show what it can teach robotics engineers.

  10. 16:38
    Charles Anderson Dragonflies that fly across oceans

    While living and working as a marine biologist in Maldives, Charles Anderson noticed sudden explosions of dragonflies at certain times of year. He explains how he carefully tracked the path of a plain, little dragonfly called the globe skimmer, only to discover that it had the longest migratory journey of any insect in the world.

  11. 13:14
    Ed Yong Zombie roaches and other parasite tales

    We humans set a premium on our own free will and independence ... and yet there's a shadowy influence we might not be considering. As science writer Ed Yong explains in this fascinating, hilarious and disturbing talk, parasites have perfected the art of manipulation to an incredible degree. So are they influencing us? It's more than likely.