Lv 4
AGT asked in Science & MathematicsZoology · 1 decade ago

Do insects feel pain when injured?

I had a butterfly get stuck in my windshield wiper, and when I pulled over to let get it out, I was devastated to see that it's lower body was crushed and one of it's lower wings was torn. It crawled on my hand and acted as if nothing was wrong, so although my initial thought was to just kill it and put it out of it's misery, I ended up putting it on a flower in the shade. It couldn't fly anymore with the shape it was in, but I figured it could enjoy it's last moments on Earth on a flower, which I know butterflies love. My question is, how could it still be alive with it's body crushed, and do insects/butterflies feel pain like we do? Do they have nerves? Can some "bug people"answer this please, as I'm not some "crazy lady" and would like serious answers! Thanks!


I looked up the word I was looking for instead of "bug people" - entomologists! Sorry if I insulted anyone!

Update 2:

To Marcellus Wallace: Apparently you did not read my "additional details" in which I apologized to anyone who I might have offended by using the term "bug people". I knew someone once who was an entomologist and know they hated references like that. I was upset about the butterfly and could not think of the term for people who study insects. I tried to change the question after I did a search, but couldn't after I had posted it - so again, my apologies. :) There's really nothing I can do or say other than that!

25 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    If I am remembering my Biology correctly, the short answer is no. Whilst insects do have nerves, ganglia and what might be considered brains, scientists seem to agree somewhat that they don't feel pain like us. On the brighter side, your compassion for life is admirable. The bible tells us our original parents were explicitly told to take care of all life on this planet. The creator surely smiled at your thoughtfullness. It was after all his butterfly and flower!

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago


  • matzen
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Do Insects Feel Pain

  • 1 decade ago

    No. They do not feel the sense like we humans do. This is because we have a central nervous system running through our vertebra (backbone) which sends messages to our brain. This means that if if our leg is hurt, we feel the pain at the top brain.

    On the other hand, the insects are non-vertebra and they do not have central nervous system. Thus if an ant's leg is crushed, only the leg will feel local pain. Moreover, their pain magnitude is short, since they produce large number of off springs and their life is short. They can also reproduce their lost organs.

    It has been observed that if you cut a cockroach's head, it will die after a month due to starving. Scientists have cut a lobster's leg and feed him, which he ate.

    It is also true that except for human beings no other animal is aware of its existence.

    • Rachel3 years agoReport

      Are you sure that no other animal is aware of its existence?? I m pretty sure that is false.

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  • Bonnie
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    Why are some of you getting offended and angry at this question? I wasn't aware that bugs could feel pain either because obviously they are not made up like humans and animals. They are bugs. I'm not saying it's ok to kill them, but my point is that they are insects, not humans and animals, so this is a completely logical question. Elclinch - What was he supposed to do with it? He let it go, what would you have preferred he do? I don't think a vet will treat a butterfly. Jeez people.

  • 3 years ago

    Can Bugs Feel Pain

  • 4 years ago

    Most people think no they dont feel pain but the truth is that scientists dont know 100%

    Also for the person that said only human being are aware of their existence. This is also not a fact. In probabiliy it is true but these kinds of things have not been proven to be 100% fact.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No, they do not feel pain like humans or animals. The central nervous system of insects is only for "control and function" they have no sensation of pain per-say.

    • ?6 years agoReport

      Well insects are animals, so I think you mean "other animals".

  • Ron H
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Pain is needed so that the insect responds to the environmment.

    Insects do not feel guit. The higher brian functions are missing.

  • 1 decade ago

    i work for a national pest control company and the answer is no. they can not feel pain. insects have a nerve cell not a brain. for this reason they do not feel pain theuy only react to situations.

    • T4 years agoReport

      Reacting to a situation shows survival. We do the same. We avoid situations to avoid pain too. But insects aren't supposed to 'think' as we humans believe is possible. A lot of mystery there.

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