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Captain Kolak

Insect intelligence?

14 posts in this topic

One morning I found a wasp in my house. Not wanting any problems I killed it. After my action I reflected on how it acted. Many of us know animals are smart, but not many think they sentient like us. Especialy insects. But, all of us have killed an insect and seen how smart they can be potentially. And how badly they do not want to die and strugle when dying. So I was wondering what everyone though on insect sentience.

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Now I'm going to be thinking about this all day tomorrow. XD

Well even if I was a bug, I wouldn't want to die either!

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One morning I found a wasp in my house. Not wanting any problems I killed it. After my action I reflected on how it acted. Many of us know animals are smart, but not many think they sentient like us. Especialy insects. But, all of us have killed an insect and seen how smart they can be potentially. And how badly they do not want to die and strugle when dying. So I was wondering what everyone though on insect sentience.

The most basic instinct of any living organism is to survive...the next most basic instinct is to procreate. Insects are no different in that regard.

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Insects are pretty much controlled by instinct; their goal is just to survive and to procreate (ripping off joc's post), the same goes for all organisms. Think about it, if they didn't struggle to survive then they probably wouldn't survive. They'd die, and all we're left with are the ones fit for survival.

I've always wondered about their sentience, though. Whether there's like a dumb little persons mind stuck inside a spiders body. :P

Apparently flies have free will, I guess that indicates a form of sentience? Click.

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Apparently flies have free will, I guess that indicates a form of sentience? Click.

That is a great link you found there, Chaos, thanks for that!

It really made me think about what its impacts will mean.

Great find!

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I feel so bad killing water bugs. And I realized why. Because I feel like they can see me. You know the palmetto bugs with the giant eyes.

I feel like they are running away from ME and that I am a murderer.

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I know that every organism is run by instinct alot, even humans. But alot of time it seems as if there is a lot more. Like a pet (if you have one) can dispay so many emotions and everything. My dog seems almost human to me sometimes....

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one night i was sitting alone in my house way back in the woods and kept hearing a "thunk" against the outside wall. i went to investigate, and found a shelob spider web on my front porch.

in it was a yellow jacket, the kind they call "the gentle giants". all his brother and sister yellow jackets were dive-bombing the spider web in an effort to free him,

which they did. they would fly into the web and hit against the porch wall and go back and do it again until he was free.

one for all and all for one.

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holy............. now thats an awsome story

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actually ants will "teach" if you will younger ants there was an article on MSN about ill search it... and also i watched a special on national geographic or animal planet that ants will take a certain bug that produces a sugar and when they migrate to start a new ant hill they will take a few of these bug with them for food.. actually it was on wikipedia just search "ants" lol i was bored at work one day... pretty neat bugs.

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Posted (edited)

Intelligence is the capacity to adapt to new situations from past experiences.

Insects do not have intelligence. They have a program and follow instructions even if it means their own death sometimes.

For example, we have a wasp here called sphex. This guy stings crickets and brings them to his nest to feed his larvae.

Once arrived to the hole in the ground, it drops the paralized cricket and goes inside to 'inspect', comes back outside & takes the cricket in.

Jean Henri Fabre (famous entomologist) moved the cricket 2 feet from the hole when the wasp got out, it had to look for it & went into "hunting program phase (HPP)", found the cricket, brought it back, went into "inspect tunnel phase (ITP)" in the meanwhile, Fabre moved the cricket again, the wasp comes out, does not find a cricket at tunnel entrance, goes into HPP, finds the cricket, comes back home, does ITP, Fabre does it again again and again ... over 40 times.

If the sphex was intelligent it may have concluded "that's 40 times now I inspect this friggin tunnel, it must be safe" and take the cricket right in but it could not adapt. Examples like that are numerous, read Fabre, he's real good with his Insect experiences.

Edited by ez_going
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okay, insect intelligence is a tricky subject. All insects, all creatures actually, have a will to survive and reproduce. This is separate from intelligence. A cockroach may play dead when it encounters a threat. This does not mean that the cockroach analyzed the situation and then DECIDED to play dead, its an inbuilt reflex. Just like your reflex is to run or fight when u encounter a threat. The degree of the intelligence any organism can display depends on their brain structure. I do not mean size, size has nothing to do with intelligence. However, although im not certain, most insects lack a frontal cortex or the cerebral cortex itself. This brain region is responsible for intelligence in humans and underdeveloped in other mammal (cats have only 7% of the cerebral cortex while dogs have 17). Where as emotions are concerned, i doubt insects have any as they do not have an amygdala. Some insects do have a hippocampus which is also a part of the limbic system, but i have never heard of an insect possessing a amygdala. However, this still does not mean that they do not have intelligence, they definitely do not have human-kind intelligence but evidence has shown that there is some intelligence. Insects do have "mushroom bodies" in their brain which have been suspected for thinking in insects. Bees for example can count, differentiate and generalize things like humans do, they are also able to solve basic, shape related problems. They can also learn the location, smell and odors of flowers they visit. Nano computers, made from just a few ATOMS, can solve problems like 3*5=15, which tells us that there is very little that is known about intelligence, consciousness and similar things. Also, quantum aspects such as quantum entanglement and te double slit experiment show that atoms themselves have some degree of intelligence and consciousness. At this point it would be naive to think that insects do not posses a degree of intelligence. who knows, all livings things might be like ants with "god" being the collective consciousness that runs the hive, the universe or the force or whatever else you would want to call it.

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I have no qualms exterminating ants by the hundreds even thousands if necessary. If the makes me an Inglorious b****** so be it

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Do some reading up on the Portia jumping spider. This arachnid is freaky and awesome.

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