Would the sensation of pain be detrimental to an insect's life?

This is one argument that tries to explain why insects don't feel pain. Does it really have any validity?

1 Answer

  • Kes
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Insects have nervous systems much unlike those of humans and likely do not sense pain exactly as humans do. For example, humans have sensors within the skin that detect heat and cold and pressure but insects do not have a flexible skin. That said, for survival benefits insects (ants, etc.) must avoid harm (too hot or cold) or vibrations or changing light that may indicate a predator. They also have a sense of smell for pheromones to detect friends, enemies and prey and leave scent trails for other ants to follow to food. Still it might be difficult to understand the levels of 'pain' experienced by an ant which might be more a level of dis-at-ease. Human pain signals may depend in part upon a minimum number of nerve endings firing a pain signal before it registers in the brain. The type, location and density of pain receptors in insects likely vary. Feelers are often used to collect information that alters random movements (ants likely do not think, "There may be food under the porch.") Most organisms seek pleasure and avoid pain whatever that may be. A sense of pain in an insect may not be detrimental if it guides the insect (and colony) to survival.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.