APR 21, 2016 02:07 PM PDT

Insect Brains: Size Does Not Equal Complexity

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

When Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus set out to classify all living things, he assumed that insects didn't have brains. It's not hard to understand where he was coming from. Insects are tiny and seemingly incapable of complex thought. Furthermore, some insects can survive and function even after it's been decapitated - evidence for Linnaeus that brains aren't essential for these small critters.

But tiny as they are, insects do have brains, and these organs are actually capable of some impressive feats. Insects rely on their brains to choose mates, communicate, and remember locations of food sources and hives, among many other survival processes. And insects can do all this with a brain about the size of pin with about one million neurons. For reference, the human brain is about 3 pounds and contains over 86 billion neurons. Watch the video to learn more about how insects use their brains, and why engineers are so interested in this topic!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 21, 2019
Health & Medicine
OCT 21, 2019
The Human Placenta is Bacteria-Free
A research team from the University of Cambridge has finally answered a heavily disputed question about the presence or absence of a microbiome in the huma...
OCT 21, 2019
Plants & Animals
OCT 21, 2019
These Desert Ants Use the Sun to Return Home After Foraging
At first glance, the Sahara Desert looks devoid of any life, and that’s a logical inference given the region’s astronomical daytime temperature...
OCT 21, 2019
Earth & The Environment
OCT 21, 2019
Will Banana Crops Survive a Changing Climate?
Climate change impacts, most notably rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, are impacting agricultural production around the world. It&rs...
OCT 21, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 21, 2019
Here's What We've Learned About Jupiter From Juno So Far
It seems like it wasn’t too long ago that NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter, but don’t be fooled, as the spacecraft has...
OCT 21, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 21, 2019
Catastrophic Ancient Events Might Have Forever Changed Life-friendly Venus
There is plenty of evidence suggesting that Venus had a long history of being a habitable planet due to its abundance of water, plate tectonics, and amicab...
OCT 21, 2019
Earth & The Environment
OCT 21, 2019
Greenland's Summer Melt Helps Scientists Track Sea Level Rise
This summer, the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced a significant melting event not seen since 2002, mainly due to the heatwave that swept through most of Eur...
Loading Comments...