I’ll Take All Your Tears, Mr. Turtle

Butterfly lands on turtle and drinks his tears

Ama la Vida TV/Flickr

The above picture is floating around the interwebs this week. It appears to show a butterfly hanging out on the nose of a turtle. That sounds fantastic. But as it turns out, that butterfly is highly competitive and enjoys tap dancing on the crushed souls of shelled creatures.

How do I know this? Well, my friends, as it turns out that butterfly isn’t just nose-resting. It’s actually drinking that turtles tears.

The turtle finds it all very cold-blooded. And he would know…

This interesting butterfly behavior has a name: lachryphagy. According to wiki, it literally means “tear drinking.” The butterflies are persuing nutrients in the tears, namely salt. And it seems like this is not just limited to butterfly-on-turtle crime, as this image from National Geographic shows quite clearly.

Butterfly lands on crocodile and drinks his tears

That’s one fancy crocodile!

To read more on this phenomenon, head here!

Photograph of croc and butterfly by Carlos de la Rosa, Organization for Tropical Studies