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Finding Genius Podcast

May 31, 2021

The dragonfly is the fastest flying insect in existence—regularly breaking most residential speed limits. This is just one of the many fascinating details discussed by entomologist Jessica Ware.

Tune in to discover:

  • How dragonflies use interception-style predation to catch mosquitoes and other flying insects
  • How an understanding of dragonfly aerodynamics could be used as bioinspiration for our own flight styles
  • How male dragonflies use their two penises to mate with a female
  • Why dragonflies can be used as a measurement of water pollution levels

Jessica Ware is an assistant curator in invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History whose work centers around insect evolution—and that of dragonflies in particular.

She welcomes listeners into the world of dragonfly social behaviors, physiology, and development, discussing aerial hunting, eating, and mating styles, the unique stages of their life cycle, and more.

Ware also discusses her latest work, which involves genome sequencing on over 6,000 species of dragonflies and damselflies, and the collection of morphological, ecological, and other data to develop a complete picture of the evolutionary history of these insects. The hope is that this information will lead to a better understanding of how insects in general are responding to climate change, and the evolution of color, vision, dispersal, and migration.

For more, visit and follow her on Twitter @JessicaLWareLab.

Episode also available on Apple Podcasts: