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Butterflies mud-puddling in the Amazon

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Fluttering around a small section of Amazonian mud, butterflies gather. They’re drinking fluids and minerals from the mud—sodium, magnesium, and other nutrients they crave. While traveling through Tambopata, Peru, tropical entomologist Phil Torres of The Jungle Diaries filmed the fluttering kaleidoscope of butterflies mud-puddling in the spot where someone had peed.

fluttering butterflies
butterflies drinking urine
He explains the phenomenon in the video above. From Wikipedia:

Mud-puddling, or simply puddling, is a behaviour most conspicuous in butterflies, but occurs in other animals as well, mainly insects; they seek out nutrients in certain moist substances such as rotting plant matter, mud and carrion… From the fluids they obtain salts and amino acids that play various roles in their physiology, ethology and ecology…

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are diverse in their strategies to gather liquid nutrients. Typically, mud-puddling behaviour takes place on wet soil. But even sweat on human skin may be attractive to butterflies such as species of Halpe. More unusual sources include blood and tears.

Two examples: Butterflies and bees drinking turtle tears in the Peruvian Amazon and butterflies that drink turtle tears for the salt.

Bonus videos: The Green Dragontail Butterfly in slow motion and catching butterflies with the longest butterfly net in the world.

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