VIDEO: Why Butterflies, Bees Drink Crocodile Tears

By  //  May 14, 2014

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Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

ABOVE VIDEO: A Julia butterfly (Dryas iulia) and a solitary bee (Centris sp.) sip tears from the eyes of spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) on Costa Rica’s Puerto Viejo River. Filmed by ecologist Carlos de la Rosa, Director of the La Selva Biological Research Station, in December 2013.

By Nationalgeographic.com

Last December, passengers on a boat trip down Costa Rica‘s Puerto Viejo River were treated to a strange sight: a butterfly and a bee drinking the tears from a crocodile’s eyes.

The encounter between the insects, a Julia butterfly (Dryas iulia) and a bee (Centris sp.), and the spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) lasted more than 15 minutes, as the reptile placidly permitted the insects to sip from its eyes as it basked on a log.

Photographic evidence suggests “tear-feeding” could be common.

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A Julia butterfly and a bee drink the tears of a spectacled caiman in northeastern Costa Rica’s Puerto Viejo River in 2013. (Photograph by Carlos de la Rosa, Organization for Tropical Studies)

A Julia butterfly and a bee drink the tears of a spectacled caiman in northeastern Costa Rica’s Puerto Viejo River in 2013. (Photograph by Carlos de la Rosa, Organization for Tropical Studies)


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