Butterflies drink the tears of turtles, and new research may have discovered the reason why. It’s not — as I initially expected — because they crave sadness. It’s because they need the sodium in those sweet sweet turtle tears, which are actually one of the least disgusting sources of sodium butterflies use.
The research was done by scientist Phil Torres at the Tambopata Research Center in Peru, and it shows that butterflies have a hard time finding enough sodium in their diet so they turn to the most logical place to find it — the tears of their enemies. (We don’t actually know if turtles and butterflies are enemies.)
Besides turtle tears, butterflies also get sodium from muddy puddles, sweaty people, and the urine of other animals according to entomology grad student Geoff Gallice from the Florida Museum of Natural History. He’s seen butterflies swarming on turtles to drink their tasty succulent tears first hand in the Amazon rain forest.
One animal drinking the tears of another is kind of horrifying, but it also seems a little familiar. Where have I heard of this behavior before… oh right:
- This turtle has two heads and twice the tears
- A snake attacked a woman after it soaked in a bottle of wine for three months
- A California rec center will teach your kid to be a Ninja Turtle