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INSECT SHOWDOWN: biting ant VS clinging stick

This show is live streamed to YouTube - register to get the link
19 May 8pm to 9pm
(UK time)
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Online Your Home
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Ants are hard-workers - they tirelessly forage for the benefit of their colony. Stick insects are masters of camouflage - you will never spot them in the wild. But beyond these well-known facts, what other tricks do these creatures have up their sleeves? Join members of the Evolutionary Biomechanics Group of Imperial College London for an epic battle of captivating facts and images between Team Ant and Team Stick! Who will be victorious?

Director of photography: Fabian Plum

Special thanks to: Andrea Attipoe, Freddie Püffel, Fabian Plum, Haaris Asghar,  Dr David Labonte

Team Stick

Dr Domna-Maria Kaimaki (Postdoctoral researcher )
Hendrik Beck (MRes & prospective PhD student)
With a combined passion for engineering and biomimetics, Hendrik and Maria will tell you that what others see as “simple”, they see as a “model” insect for fascinating research. How do insects stick to surfaces; even upside down, during a storm or a heatwave? How do they overcome these challenging conditions? What would insect-inspired robots look like and what would they be useful for in the human-made world? Indian and sunny stick insects have all the answers!

Team Ant

Dr Victor Kang (Postdoctoral researcher)
Liv Walthaus (PhD student)
Leaf-cutter ants are one of the world’s oldest farmers - they have been cultivating their fungus farms for millions of years! In order to grow their “crop”, ants harvest pieces of plants at an industrial-scale. Liv and Victor share a passion for these complex biological systems and are fascinated by how insect herbivores harvest plant materials with such efficiency. How do they cut through leaves? How are tasks divided between different ants in a colony? The team behind the “superorganism” can’t wait to tell you more!

Hosted by Dr Natalie Imirzian

Dr Natalie Imirzian (Postdoctoral researcher)
Natalie is a biologist who loves all bugs, but is captivated by ants most of all (and is perhaps not an impartial host...). Ants form societies that rival our own, and her research focuses on how they have coordinated complex behaviours to become dominant members of our planet. Driven by her rainforest field work experiences, she is excited to convince others of the wonders of insects and what humans can learn from studying them.

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