Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Arthropod Adaptations – Inside the Insect Zoo


  • Title: Arthropod Adaptations – Inside the Insect Zoo
  • Air Date: March 13, 2014
  • Series: Smithsonian Science How webcasts, which are designed to connect natural history science and research to upper-elementary and middle-school students.

This video features Dan Babbitt, the former Manager of the O. Orkin Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History. Join him in exploring the lives of insects and other arthropods at the Insect Zoo. Look at insect adaptations in a new light, considering how they eat, how they move, and how they grow. Think about the characteristics of each species that help keep it alive in tough conditions. Probe into the mysteries of the cycles of insect life and death and consider why a cockroach is a good parent. Plan to work through any aversions you may have to insects and spiders by seeing through Dan's eyes how fascinating and unique they are.

Teaching Resources

Adaptations of Insects and Other Arthropods

National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Life Science

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-LS4-3: Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.
  • 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.
Resource Type
Videos and Webcasts
Grade Level
Life Science