Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

Butterflies that drink turtle tears for the salt content

Watch a butterfly drink turtle tears from a Yellow-spotted Amazon River Turtle (Podocnemis unifilis). Wait, what?

It’s true: butterflies and bees will drink turtle tears as a source of sodium and minerals. In turn, the turtles get their eyes cleaned. The video above was filmed in Peru by Ryan M. Bolton, photographer/videographer and trained conservation biologist. Farther below, there’s a photo in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park by conservation photographer Pete Oxford. Via LiveScience

Turtle tears are not the only source of such salts for butterflies; the insects also readily get the salt from animal urine, muddy river banks, puddles, sweaty clothes and sweating people, said Geoff Gallice, a graduate student of entomology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, who has witnessed butterflies flocking to turtle tears in the western Amazon rain forest.

This region is lower in sodium than many places on Earth, because it is more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from the Atlantic Ocean, a prime source of salt, and is cut off from windblown mineral particles to the west by the Andes Mountains. Dust and minerals make their way into the Amazon from the east, sometimes all the way from north Africa. But much of this material is removed from the air by rain before it reaches the western Amazon, Torres said.

tumblr_msz84hC5zk1r0q28po2_r1_1280

Related viewing: bees drinking turtle tears, and more amazing nature in the archives.

h/t Scinerds.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Meet The Team Protecting Costa Rica’s Sea Turtle Mecca

Rion Nakaya

Giant Millipede from the Amazon rainforest

Rion Nakaya

Monarch Butterflies – Wonders of Life with Professor Brian Cox

Rion Nakaya

Listen to turtles eating watermelon

Rion Nakaya

A tortoise beetle taking off in slow motion

Rion Nakaya

Thousands of sea turtles seen by drone in Costa Rica

Rion Nakaya

Catching butterflies with the longest butterfly net in the world

Rion Nakaya

Tour the Galápagos Islands’ new marine sanctuary

Rion Nakaya

Why are Glasswing Butterfly wings clear?

Rion Nakaya