Off Beat Stories

May 2, 2014 10:51 AM by Stephen Bowers

Crocodile tears: quenching the thirst of butterflies & bees

Butterflies and bees drink the tears of crocodiles. That is according to a new report from LiveScience.

Carlos de la Rosa is an aquatic ecologist and director of the La Selva Biological Station for the Organization for Tropical Field Studies in San Pedro, Costa Rica. The discovery was made when he was sailing down Costa Rica's Puerto Viejo River last December with other researchers and students.

They were fiming and photographing animals and saw a butterfly and a bee hovering near the eyes of a speckled caiman near the riverbank. 

While animals have been known to drink sweat, urine, and blood, this is the first time researchers observed insects drinking the tears of other animals.

Drinking the crocodillian tears, the insects obtain salt and maybe even other rare minerals and proteins. It is not known, however, if the reptiles benefit from such interactions or they are merely tolerant of their insect visitors. 

The video taken of the interaction between the insects and the caiman below is from


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