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
NOV 06, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 06, 2018
Why Bald Eagles Have Such Great Vision
The bald eagle is an incredible creature, not just for its beauty, but also because of its astonishing eyesight capabilities. Experts estimate that the bal...
NOV 13, 2018
Technology
NOV 13, 2018
Here's Why Hydrogen-Powered Cars Haven't Become Mainstream
The automobile industry today is still dominated by gasoline-powered vehicles, but electric cars like those from Tesla are gaining a lot of traction in the...
NOV 20, 2018
Earth & The Environment
NOV 20, 2018
This Massive Impact Crater Was Hiding Underneath Greenland's Ice
After searching the ice-covered lands of Greenland, scientists have discovered what appears to be a massive impact crater that was previously hidden by mor...
NOV 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 24, 2018
These Are Some of the Most Extreme Dads in the Animal Kingdom
Being a dad isn’t always smooth sailing, but compared to a plethora of different species in the animal kingdom, human dads have it easy. The hardhead...
NOV 27, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 27, 2018
Unraveling the Secret Behind the Strength of Spider Web
You don't need to watch a Spider-Man movie to notice how tough a spider web can be. Made of fiber-based spider silk, the seemingly fragile structure ca...
DEC 10, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2018
Learn More About How NASA Built the Parker Solar Probe
When NASA built the Solar Parker Probe to embark on its mission to study the Sun, they knew it’d need to be built with bleeding-edge technology to ma...
Loading Comments...