We eased up to the butterflies, almost as if we were alligators, and hung onto the riverbank while we watched the butterfly's mud puddling party.
|Homeschoolers in biology class|
So, why do the butterflies keep drinking... and drinking? They are simply passing the water through their bodies in order to get certain minerals from the water... minerals the water has absorbed, or leached, from the soil. When butterflies engage in this behavior... sucking up moisture from damp ground, pumping it through their systems, and frequently "peeing" droplets of water... it's called "puddling". We used the term, "pee party".
To me, what is astounding about this puddling process, is illustrated in the photo above. The butterfly can suck (drink, gather, absorb, or whatever) water from the damp ground faster than the excreted droplets can seep away. It does that through its thin, flexible proboscis... without clogging it up. Could you make me a big one of those? I can think of a few useful applications. To take up all that water from the damp ground, the butterfly's proboscis must work like a sponge... a very effective one.
mud puddling butterflies.
Oh, and someone jokingly made the comment, "You mean, you went to all that (hanging on the riverbank... Nikon and all) just to see a butterfly pee?!?".
For example: I heard the boys talking about inventing an efficient pump like the butterfly's proboscis... since there are some valuable trace elements (like gold) in water.