Do Butterflies Remember Being Caterpillars?

18 July 2017, 14:37


Does a butterfly remember being a caterpillar? We got a research psychologist to answer.


Do butterflies have memories of when they were caterpillars?

Dave, Heathrow


Name: Ath, Surbiton

Qualification: Research Psychiatrist

Answer: Scientists exposed caterpillars to a noxious stimulus and something else they would associate it with – a stimulus experiment – so that the caterpillars would associate that stimulus with the noxious substance. They then let them pupate and hatch as butterflies and exposed the butterflies to the same stimulus experiment. The butterflies had the same reactions as the caterpillars and wouldn’t go near the stimulus. They clearly have a memory of the stimulus and noxious substance.

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