Sawa-J is a polyphagous silkworm (Bombyx mori L.) strain that eats various plant leaves that normal silkworms do not. The feeding preference behavior of Sawa-J is controlled by one major recessive gene(s) on the polyphagous (pph) locus, and several minor genes; moreover, its deterrent cells possess low sensitivity to some bitter substances including salicin. To clarify whether taste sensitivity is controlled by the pph locus, we conducted a genetic analysis of the electrophysiological characteristics of the taste response using the polyphagous strain Sawa-J·lem, in which pph is linked to the visible larval marker lemon (lem) on the third chromosome, and the normal strain Daiankyo, in which the wild-type gene of pph (+(pph)) is marked with Zebra (Ze). Maxillary taste neurons of the two strains had similar dose-response relationships for sucrose, inositol, and strychnine nitrate, but the deterrent cell of Sawa-J·lem showed a remarkably low sensitivity to salicin. The F(1) generation of the two strains had characteristics similar to the Daiankyo strain, consistent with the idea that pph is recessive. In the BF(1) progeny between F(1) females and Sawa-J·lem males where no crossing-over occurs, the lem and Ze phenotypes corresponded to different electrophysiological reactions to 25 mM salicin, indicating that the gene responsible for taste sensitivity to salicin is located on the same chromosome as the lem and Ze genes. The normal and weak reactions to 25 mM salicin were segregated in crossover-type larvae of the BF(1) progeny produced by a reciprocal cross, and the recombination frequency agreed well with the theoretical ratio for the loci of lem, pph, and Ze on the standard linkage map. These results indicate that taste sensitivity to salicin is controlled by the gene(s) on the pph locus.