START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
5,165,025 people care about Animal Welfare

Crying Turtles Come to the Rescue of Salt-Deprived Butterflies

Crying Turtles Come to the Rescue of Salt-Deprived Butterflies

This post was written by Jaymi Heimbuch

In order to get their dose of sodium, butterflies in the Amazon rainforest turn to crying turtles. Scientist Phil Torres points out that while turtles get plenty of salt from their carnivorous diet, butterflies (and most herbivores) have a harder time finding the important mineral, especially in the west Amazon rainforest where there is very little salt at all. Their solution lies, in part, in the damp edges of turtle eyes. Torres wants to study the behavior more to find out if there are other minerals in the moisture that the insects are after.

“Potentially, they could be getting other resources out of those eyeballs that we don’t even know about,” Torres told Live Science. ”Basically, we have to go start swabbing turtle eyeballs and see what we get.”

howvin/CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

From Live Science:

“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.

Here, you can see bees engaging in the same behavior:

This post was originally published in TreeHugger

Read more: , , , ,

Photo Credit: Lufonz

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
1:59AM PDT on Sep 17, 2013

Very interesting!
I never knew about this, however in the video of the bees, the turtle does not seem very happy about it!

9:55PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

Thanks for this post, very interesting.

6:53PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

Creatures find ways to survive. They never fail to amaze us.

5:52PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

Nature ! Isn't it great?

4:00PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

Interesting information, thank you.

3:52PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

Usually it's a symbiotic relationship when different species interact like this. So I'm just wondering if the butterfly isn't depositing pollen from some plant that exhibits anti-bacterial properties for eye infection.

3:29PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

Thank you TreeHugger, for Sharing this!

2:20PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013


2:17PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

Never knew this - it's fascinating. Thank you for sharing.

2:05PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Vegans know where the water goes. Jean Clelland-Morin

The protesters didn't just 'question the arrest' - they surrounded the police car, linking arms and chanting.…

I am so glad that this cruel dentist has been outed.

ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.