Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Insect awareness?

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Question
Hello! I've had this question in the back of my mind for many years now and I could never find an answer. So I'm hoping you'd be able to help me!

A bit ago, I helped a moth hatch and let it rest on my fingers while it's wings dried out and filled with blood. I had to switch a few times since my fingers were getting tired of holding it up in the air, and the moth didn't seem to mind the constant moving about. When it was finally done with it's wings, it flew onto my mouth and sat there and I had to gently blow on it because it was making it hard for me to talk. So it decided to settle on my forehead for a bit before I gently scooped it off and let it outside to fly gracefully away in the breeze.

My question from that experience is, did the moth even realize I was a living being? Did it know that I wasn't a tree or branch? It's made me very curious if the moth didn't care at all that it was resting on me.

I've been curious on that since I've been always under the illusion that instincts would keep it away from possible predators.

The same question goes to the praying mantis I raised and let it crawl onto each hand and it as well crawled on my face and sat there. It's a weird question, but it's always intrigued me.

Gracias!

Answer
Hi Taylor
Your question about insect awareness is a common one  We like to think that other organisms think like we do. The problem is that such awareness involves a complex nervous system which insects do not have so my answer would be that the moth on your case responded to warmth perhaps and was not aware that a living person was there. I have a pet tarantula that sits on my hand but my hand is just a different surface. My spider does have a concept of a person: it responds to the environment
 Unfortunately we cannot communicate with insects

walter

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Walter Hintz

Expertise

I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.

Experience

I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Publications
Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

Education/Credentials
B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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