Geek Trivia

To Give Their Eggs An Advantage, Some Butterflies Have Evolved To?

Taste with Their Legs
Produce Freeze-Proof Eggs
Lay Poisonous Eggs
Hide Eggs in Wasp Nests
Russia's Secret Cold War Maps Of What Are Now Preferred To Official Maps?

Answer: Taste with Their Legs

Some species of butterflies have a rather curious talent that we should all be glad humans do not possess: they can taste via their legs. These butterflies have special hairs on their legs called gustatory sensilla that are the same specialized hairs found on their mouths and antenna that function as taste receptors.

How does tasting via their legs help the butterflies? By tasting the leaves they alight on, they can immediately determine if the plant is a suitable host for their eggs. In a world where predators are many and dallying on a plant is dangerous, the ability to instantly determine if the plant they’ve landed on is hostile or an ideal spot to leave their young offers a huge advantage.

Image courtesy of Daniel Hall.