PHOTO: Turtle tears provide essential nutrients for butterflies

Butterflies drinking turtle tears. Credit:  Jeff Cremer/Solent News
Butterflies drinking turtle tears. Credit: Jeff Cremer/Solent News

A group of vividly colored butterflies smothers the heads of turtles as they try and drink their tears.

This event occurs because the orange Julia butterflies and yellow Sulphur butterflies require the nutritional benefits of salt. Photographer Jeff Cremer captured this sight in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.

“We’re used to one or two butterflies on a turtle but these ones – about 15 of them – seem to be absolutely smothered in butterflies.” Jeff Cremer, 35, travel photographer from Pueblo, Colorado.

Turtle eyes are the only salt source in forest
Much like humans a turtle’s sweat is replete with sodium, and some animals in the rainforest have to drink their tears as they are nowhere near a principal salt source like an ocean.

“The butterflies tend to attract each other, so if one butterfly is feeding, its bright colors invite other butterflies to that site to feed as well,” says biologist Phil Torres.

No harm caused by thirsty butterflies
Amazingly, the terrapins, a type of freshwater turtle, seem to be unperturbed by the butterflies’ intrusion. However, they are not as placid when bees also come to drink turtle tears for salt.

“When bees come by to drink from the turtles’ tears, they appear to get agitated and will dodge their head around and try and swat the bee away,” Torres says.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.