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

Flood Wall Street protesters shut down lower Manhattan…

Riding the momentum of Sunday’s People’s Climate March, more than a thousand protesters filled Broadway in lower Manhattan on Monday, shutting down traffic. Flood Wall…

National

How much weight did Gov. Chris Christie lose?

It's been about a year and a half since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie underwent stomach lap band surgery and his weight loss has definitely…

Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

Movies

List: David Bowie — Great (cracked) actor

With the documentary "David Bowie Is" hitting theaters, we round up his work as a terrific screen actor, in films like "The Prestige" and "The Hunger."

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Education

4 ways to help at-risk high school students

Each year, a reported 1.3 million high school students drop out of school, a number so high that many experts say addressing it is one…

Food

Now you can eat Momofuku at your desk

Now you can eat Momofuku at your desk

Style

Transgender model Andreja Pejic opens up

The transgender model talks life after Sex Reassignment Surgery.

Wellbeing

E-cigarettes underutilized for smoking cessation

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. If you identify yourself as a smoker, chances are you don’t want to. In fact, roughly 68…