Monday, June 18, 2012

Puddling Swallowtail Butterflies

   The other day, while I was driving down the road, a brilliant cluster of puddling butterflies caught my attention.  There must have been a dozen Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies crowded around in a fluttering group in the middle of a roadside turn-out.  By the time I stopped and walked back to the area where the butterflies were congregated, only two remained on the ground... the rest were flitting around.

   Puddling behavior of butterflies is fascinating to watch.  The butterflies gather around mud-puddles or moist ground and extend their proboscises... probing the wet ground in order to take up nutrients.  In the case of Tiger Swallowtails, sodium is the nutrient they are seeking.  See this article about puddling butterflies.
   I suspect this roadside-rest is a good place for the butterflies' salt uptake... the area is mostly forested mountains with a road in the midst... a road that gets salted during snow removal.
 Next time I pass the spot, I'll watch for another swarm of butterflies.
I've seen salt-licks for deer, feeders for wild turkeys, baths for birds...
 I like the idea of making some puddles for butterflies... I wouldn't mind an aggregation of Tiger Swallowtails, or other butterflies,  puddling en masse in the back yard... a Papilo puddle-party.


  1. a Papilo puddle-party. a Papilo puddle-party. a Papilo puddle-party.

    Bet ya can't say that five times fast, Dana. :-)