Logically, everyone here at the laboratory of Entomology would agree that insects are incredibly interesting and massively unappreciated. We find them in many shapes and forms, each with their own (sometimes oddly specific and weird) preferences, life histories, and behaviors. But, if you ask me, the single most mind-blowing phenomenon within the insect world is the insect brain. Inside this breadcrumb-sized little piece of neural tissue, lays the circuitry that enables the animal to interact with its environment. Here we find what enables it to actually learn things, for example, to form memories about which plants to avoid or which ones to actively seek out. On top of that, insects that undergo a metamorphosis (like butterflies) are actually subjected to an extensive remodeling of their entire nervous system during their time as a pupa in order to deal with all the new input they will receive as an adult.
In my research, I try to find out more about the neural circuitry of gustatory perception in Pieris brassicae (the Large cabbage white). I am mostly interested in questions like: How is the gustatory system restructured during the metamorphosis? And, how do new neurons find their place a developing brain?