Butterflies – Nature’s Unexpected Scavengers

Butterflies scavenging dead fish. © SmarterEveryDay

Swallowtail butterflies scavenging dead fish. © SmarterEveryDay

This perplexing photograph reveals that even butterflies feed off of dead animals. They are in the process of sipping liquid nutrients (i.e. salt & amino acids) from the external surface of the fish’s body – an act charmingly called “puddling”. Interestingly, in many butterfly species, this behavior is exclusively observed in males. It’s an awesome example of sexual selection since the nutrients males gain from puddling can be passed to females while mating, thus providing their offspring with a higher likelihood of survival.

Watch butterfly puddling in action:


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