Archive for butterflies

Photographer Mauro Maione had to get up before dawn to capture his striking images of insects resting on plants

Posted in 2015, animals with tags , , on August 13, 2015 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


He found the creatures in the fields of Castelli Romani Park, just over an hour away from Rome, often arriving before sunrise to capture the insects before they had time to warm up and move around

When a bee and a butterfly feed on the tears of a crocodile

Posted in 2014 with tags , , , , on May 3, 2014 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


This very patient caiman leaves a bee and a butterfly sucking her tears for a quarter of an hour to Costa RicaAccording to researchers, the sodium content in tears carnivores attracts insects who need for their development.

This is an original trio Carlos de la Rosa and his team had the chance to observe on the banks of the Rio Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica: an alligator lounging on a tree trunk while a butterfly ( Dryas iulia) and a bee (Centris sp.) drink her tears. 


“This is one of those moments of natural history that one day we hope to observe closely,” said Carlos de la Rose, director of La Selva Biological Station, specializing in the study of tropical areas. The biologist, students and photographers navigate the Puerto Viejo River in northeastern Costa Rica, when they see the caiman and two insects. 

“I learned that you should always have a camera on yourself, because you never know what you will find by going to the office or dinner,” says the researcher, who was able to film the scene. But how to explain that insects are attracted by the tears of the crocodile? In a press release, Carlos de la Rosa says that this attitude is common among butterflies.

It has already observed this phenomenon in the Amazon, whether with alligators or turtles.According to scientists, the sodium is particularly important in the development of vegetarian animals, which must therefore manage to get them in their natural environment. That is why it is not uncommon butterflies sucking stagnant water rich in minerals in mud puddles.


The tears of carnivores, a good source of sodium  The carnivorous diet of some animals, such as turtles and alligators, allow them to be good salt intake. This is why the butterflies come to drink their tears. However, Carlos de la Rosa said to have observed this behavior in bees only occasionally, in the Ecuadorian Amazon. 

But by doing a simple image search on Google, the researcher realized that it is far from being the only one to have seen this kind of situation. Before him, other researchers have discovered a species of bee feeding Ecuadorian tears of a turtle.

In Thailand, some bees can even drink the tears of humans. Attracted by the salt content in the tear fluid, bees cacciae and furva cling quietly eyelids of people, sometimes without their knowledge. The story does not tell us if the caiman has enjoyed being used by both insects. It is in any case let him patiently for a quarter of an hour.

Carlos L de la Rosa 2014. Additional observations of lachryphagous butterflies and bees. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12: 210–210; doi: 10.1890/14.WB.006

We are in the midst of an ecological catastroph, bees and butterflies are disappearing

Posted in 2013 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2013 by MARIE EMMANUELLE QUILICHINI


Vanishing Butterflies and Dying Bees

The European Environment Agency just published a study about butterflies in Europe. It shows that from 1990 to today, over a period of 20 years, the butterfly population was reduced by 50%. The reasons for this disappearance are increased agriculture, and the overall reduction of wild meadows. Butterflies are a major contributor to biodiversity. They feed primarily on nectar from flowers, and they get nourishment from pollen, tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, and decaying flesh. They have a crucial ecological function for plants, because they carry flower pollen, occasionally over great distances, from one plant to another.

Butterflies are not the only insects under distress. Bees pollinate about 70 to 80 percent of the world’s agricultural crops, like apples, celery, cucumbers, asparagus, onions, cauliflower, carrots, cranberries, and almonds. All these fruits and vegetables relay on bees for reproduction, but the bees are dying. We are witnessing a dramatic reduction in the bee population worldwide. Between 2006 and 2011, approximately 30% of bees have disappeared, due to a problem termed “Colony Collapse Disorder”, or CCD. This happens for a variety of reasons: The wide-spread use of pesticides, new types of diseases and parasites, and environmental stress, like loss of habitat, contaminated water, or shifting weather patterns due to global warming.

We are in the midst of an ecological catastrophe. An overall population decrease of bees worldwide by 30%, and butterflies by 50% over 20 years, is the sign of an ecological disaster in the making. These devastating changes can most likely not be solved by simple solutions, but can only be addressed by more systemic shifts. We have to change our relationship to nature, and we have to learn how to respect the deep interconnectedness that constitutes the natural cycles that support us.


Butterflies and bees need a boost

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