Butterflies drinking turtle tears, and why turtles cry

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Here is a picture of Julia Butterflies (Dryas iulia) drinking the tears of turtles in Ecuador.

“The turtles placidly permit the butterflies to sip from their eyes as they bask on a log. This ‘tear-feeding’ is a phenomenon known as lachryphagy which is a type of mud-puddling.” Which leads us to the next question: What’s “mud puddling”?

Well, Wikipedia says, “Mud-puddling, or simply puddling, is behaviour most conspicuous in butterflies, but occurs in other animals as well, mainly insects; they seek out certain moist substances such as rotting plant matter, mud and carrion and they suck up the fluid.”

I have another question: why is the turtle crying?

According to Exploring Nature,  “When Sea turtles cry, it is not because they are sad. They have a gland that empties into their eyes that helps them get rid of too much salt that they collect living in the salty ocean. You can only see their tears when they are out of the water on land, of course, and the tears also help keep sand out of the turtle’s eyes.”

OK. I’m glad he didn’t just get left by his wife or something.

I have no idea why I just assumed the turtle is a boy.

This photo was recently named Wikimedia Commons 2014 Picture of the Year.

(Via Twisted Sifter)

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