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Behavior & Communication

Insect behaviors tell us a lot about how an insect adapts to its world, about predator-prey relationships, and about evolution.

Why Don't Monarchs Get Sick From Eating Milkweed?
Monarch caterpillars employ some unique tactics to disable the toxic milkweed plant before eating it.

Social Insects
When we speak of social insects, we aren't just referring to insects that live in groups. Entomologists define true social insects, or eusocial insects as they are properly called, by 3 obligate characteristics. Learn what defines an insect as social, and the degrees of sociality, from solitary to eusocial.

Insect Migration
Like birds, mammals, and other larger animals, some insects migrate. Insect migration is more than just movement from one place to another. Learn what migration is, and why and when insects relocate.

Insects Attracted to Lights – Why Are Insects Attracted to Lights?
Did you ever wonder why so many insects circle around your porch light?

How Insects Taste Their Food
Since some insects eat very specific plants or prey, they must have a way to distinguish one taste from another. How does an insect taste its food?

How Do Insects Detect and Identify Odors?
Insects rely largely on their sense of smell to find mates, locate food, and avoid predators. You may know that most insects use their antennae to smell, but how does the insect decipher what it's smelling?

Can Insects Learn?
Most insect behavior is genetically programmed, or innate. A caterpillar with no prior experience or instruction, can spin a silken cocoon. But can an insect change its behavior as a result of its experiences? In other words, can insects learn?

Do Insects Sleep?
It's not quite as easy for us to tell whether insects sleep the way we do. They don't have eyelids, for one thing, so you'll never see a bug close its eyes for a quick nap. So what's the answer - do insects sleep?

Flash Mimicry by Fireflies
Fireflies employ some clever trickery to hunt other fireflies, and even to mate. Both males and females mimic the flash patterns of other species.

How Plant-Eating Insects Find the Right Food
Plant-eating insects may eat a variety of plants, or specialize in eating only one kind. Either way, no plant-eating insect will eat every green thing it finds. There must be some way for insects to know which plant is which, and to find the right food plant for its own species. How do they do it?

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