Meet you at the watering hole

This thought went through my mind the other morning when I saw a group of swallowtail butterflies at an almost empty puddle of water. The gathering of males seeking nourishment is called “puddling.”

I’ve seen moths perform a similar act while out hiking overnight on the Superior Hiking Trail. One night I hung my sweaty shirt out on a clothesline to dry and when I got up in the middle of the night to use the latrine hundreds of tiny white moths were attached to my shirt enjoying a salty drink.

I thought this was a little odd and kind of gross but little did I know at the time they were also pumping somthing out of their abdomens and onto my clothing. What exactly this liquid was and why only males seem to perform this ritual I’ll leave up to you to investigate. Here’s an article if you’re interested in learning more or performing your own “puddling” experiment.

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