an insect question and observation

I just read the post about the pulsating wasp. Maybe Doug can answer this for me also… it is about insects and pain. I have heard about an experiment in which a scientists snips the abdomen off of a bee that is busy (yup as a bee) getting nectar out of a flower. Seemingly the bee never even notices that its abdomen is gone and continues to drink the nectar.
On my own observation something very similar happened. About a month ago I swatted a bee with a rolled up paper and popped its abdomen clear off on impact. The bee’s head and thorax landed on my end table and I observed it closly. All but one leg remained on the thorax and both wings remained. The animal was trying to walk around normally but could only take a few steps before falling over on its back. It would constantly clean its forearms and wipe its eyes off like nothing was the matter. it was even able to crawl across my hand. The bee showed no sign of slowing down for nearly a half hour. At 45 minutes it would only move when it was blown on or touched. This is when I ended my observation and threw the bee away.

NOW I dont really know what a bee in pain might look like (there just so damn expressionless) but this one didnt appear to act out of the ordinary

ON THE OTHER HAND I have seen film of people frying a whole pan full of live mealworms and the worms thrash about and wiggle like in great pain (or that may just be my interpritation of what pain looks like).

Does Doug or anyone who reads this know of any proof that insects can or cannot feel pain? Maybe depends on the insects? Do they just lack the receptors for pain?

“Boy, wouldja get a load of the cloaca on that one”? -Cecil Adams, october 8 1999

Don’t know exactly where there is info on bug pain receptors, but just hang around some body will post a link or two or twenty. From personal observation I have often watched Preying Mantissessesss Manti mating ( OK oK I’m a bugeyed voyuer) the male is on the females back, often the female will turn her head around and begin chomping away , eating his head and thorax away, the male just keeps going at it. Kinda gives a whole new meaning to getting head don’t it?

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

HaHa… but isnt the male in actuality GIVING head?? :slight_smile: and isnt that what females really like anyway? L

But pain is a subjective concept. What sort of pronouncement would you consider to be a scientifically objective report concluding that insects generally, or certain insects, “feel pain” (as humans do, or at least say they do). Would you prefer a recording of a buzz that a linguist has translated into ‘ouch’? Or would you like a documented observation of neural-like feedback to a cognate of the pain center in higher vertibrates? How would you decide that something in a bugbrain qualifies as such a cognate?

Ray (News: Horse hurts horsefly. Not news: Horsefly hurts horse. Rubber baby-buggy bumpers bum out baby bugs.)

Pain receptors, or nerves, or something, should be able to be detected, though, which might be enough. And careful observation of the reaction after being damaged should also give an idea.

Obviously you can’t see them wince and rub the sore part, but insects are not like you or I anyway. Indeed, they are so different it’s almost weird.

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