According To A New Study, Plants Can Hear Themselves Being Eaten

Looks like you need to talk to your vegan and vegetarian friends, it looks like they are as righteous as they thought they were. We’ve always had inklings of this, and I did especially after seeing Seth Rogen’s movie, Sausage Party, but it looks like there is some reality to these thoughts.

It might be a stretch to be able to say they “hear” you eating them, but they definitely know! The University of Missouri conducted a study that reports plans can identify sounds around them and they react!

Plants can’t really do anything about it, but the study says that they can sense when, for example, a caterpillar is chomping on their surround friends. Once this happens, they release mustard oils which deters the caterpillar.


Heidi Appel, who is the senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the Bond Life Sciences Center reported this according to the Daily Mail:

“Previous research has investigated how plants respond to acoustic energy, including music. However, our work is the first example of how plants respond to an ecologically relevant vibration.

We found that ‘feeding vibrations’ signal changes in the plant cells’ metabolism, creating more defensive chemicals that can repel attacks from caterpillars.”


Appel also worked with Rex Cocroft, professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at Mizzou for the study.

They conducted their study with Arabidopsis which is a cabbage type plant. They first just used the noise of the caterpillar without the actual insect and the plant reacted. When it was just around silence, yep you guessed it, nothing happened. They they actually let real caterpillars into the buffet and the same conclusion was made.

Concroft concluded that:

“What is remarkable is that the plants exposed to different vibrations, including those made by a gentle wind or different insect sounds that share some acoustic features with caterpillar feeding vibrations did not increase their chemical defenses.

This indicates that the plants are able to distinguish feeding vibrations from other common sources of environmental vibration.”


Appel also said that this research could help agriculture defense. She said:

“Caterpillars react to this chemical defense by crawling away, so using vibrations to enhance plant defenses could be useful to agriculture.

This research also opens the window of plant behavior a little wider, showing that plants have many of the same responses to outside influences that animals do, even though the responses look different.”


Appel and Cocroft’s next plan is to determine why these plants sense vibrations.

But the real next plan is for vegans and vegetarians to decide whether their outlandish actions matter. If they get mad at us meat eaters, we can finally turn the tables and explain to them this study.

This is usually my reaction to vegans and their ways…