For a butterfly, tasting with your feet isn’t gross. In fact, it’s a great way to find a delicious place to eat—and that’s why it’s how they shop for daycare for their offspring.
?“You’ve got to make sure you’re getting those babies on the right plant,” says Katy Prudic, an entomologist at the University of Arizona. Butterflies can taste whether the plant they are standing on will be alright for their baby caterpillars to eat.
Similarly, crickets and locusts have taste receptors in their ovipositor, an organ that deposits eggs, so they can detect whether the dirt they’re using as a nursery is good for their offspring.
Parasitoid wasps can do a similar taste test with their antennae, and also perform antennae drumming on the surface of eggs where they might lay their eggs.