Mammals sort different chemicals that they taste into different categories, which determines which foods they will eat and which ones they will find disgusting. A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California has determined that insects possess a receptor that allows their bodies to identify savory or umami tastes.
Umami taste is one of the five basic tastes in humans, and some experts believe that insects also possess this ability, but very little research has been put into exploring the way insects perceive certain tastes until now. Researchers have already found a particular umami taste receptor that is common to all insects. A graduate student, Anindya Ganguly, is one of the foremost experts in the field of entomology, and she is hoping to manipulate these neural networks in order to alter an insect’s feeding habits and therefore insect populations could be controlled by human intervention.
Have you ever witnessed an insect eating something that was not another insect or animal?