Many insects, like butterflies have specific host plants on which they feed or lay eggs. While researching about some butterflies, I found that they lay their eggs on certain specific plants and their larvae feed on the leaves of those plants. I wonderd how do they recognize those specific plant species:

  • Do they use visual cues to find or recognize these plants?


  • Do they use chemical cues, like sensing volatile compounds released by the plants? I think this might be possible as I found many species of butterflies prefer plants of the citrus family which contain essential oils. Do they just sniff around following the trails of such chemicals to find the host plant,


  • Is it the combination of both?
  • $\begingroup$ Yup, insect recognize their host by the combination of both visual cues and chemical cues. $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2019 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ @MaqsoodAhmad- Welcome. Answers should be backed up by credible sources, preferably journal articles. Unsourced one-liners are comments and I've converted it as such. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Apr 12, 2019 at 6:30


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