The Butterfly Remembers What the Caterpillar Learned

Sometimes you just have to toss aside high-minded considerations like how research Sheds Light on the Human Condition, or Illuminates the Secrets of Life, and simply say, gee, isn’t nature amazing?

The metamorphosis of squishy little caterpillar to magnificent butterfly is so radical that you’d think little could remain of the creature’s previous life. But in a neat paper, scientists are reporting this evening

The caterpillars learned to avoid the odor—they inched their way down the arm of a Y-shaped contraption that did not have the odor, avoiding the arm that did. Once the caterpillar had morphed into a moth, the moth made the same choice, flying away from the aroma associated with a jolt.

And I can’t remember to pick up a carton of milk on my way home.