Can moths think?
There is no evidence that moths can think. Moth brains are very small, with few neurons in the optic lobe, which processes visual information. The moth brain is also extremely simple, with only about 300,000 neurons compared to a human’s 100 billion. Moths are also not able to think. A moth does not have a neocortex, the part of the brain that handles higher-level thinking and reasoning.
We also have a frontal cortex, which is associated with advanced cognitive functions and problem-solving in humans. Moths lack these structures, and thus cannot think in the way that we do.
Do moths remember them as caterpillars?
New research shows that butterflies and moths have the ability to remember what they learned when they were caterpillars. It suggests that when the insects experience a metamorphosis, the wires don’t actually rewire their brains, challenging the accepted wisdom. This discovery may provide insight into how human brains develop.
It’s well known that the brain of a caterpillar and the brain of a moth or butterfly are very different. Caterpillars are simple creatures whose brains are little more than a few nerve cells arranged in segments along with their bodies, whereas adult butterflies and moths have complex brains with many areas devoted to specific tasks such as vision, smell, and taste.
Do moths have brains?
Yes, moths do have brains. The moth’s brain contains about one million nerve cells. In comparison, the human brain has more than one hundred billion nerve cells. “The moth’s odor system is a micro-network with a relatively low number and few types of neurons. That makes it a good model for understanding how the brain works
In their new study, Honegger and her colleagues show that the different types of neurons in the moth’s antenna can be divided into two groups, each handling its own type of task. One group is responsible for general information processing; the other group is specialized in detecting odors that attract moths.
It’s probably safe to say that moths can’t think the way humans and other animals can. Their brains are smaller, have less complex neural connectivity, and lack certain key structures that we need for higher-level thinking. As insects, their brains are also structured differently—the optic lobes and frontal cortex don’t do the same thing in moths as they do in humans.