Warm sun on cow manure has its own special smell. I came to know it well this morning as I tracked butterflies puddling along the almost-dry creek.

Perhaps the smell alerted the blues to this spot — dozens of them flitted about.

Puddling — mud puddling — is common among many butterflies. It’s mainly a guy thing: Flower nectar satisfies most of their nutritional needs but they need more than nectar to reproduce successfully.

So they sip up salts and amino acids from mud and manure. (Some species use blood or tears. Even rotting flesh. Eck.) During mating they pass the nutrients to the female in their sperm, ensuring healthy eggs.

Cow. Manure. Butterfly. Slick trick.


8 thoughts on “Puddling

  1. I’ve never seen such a butterfly, except in National Geographic specials. Clearly, I’m butterfly deprived. But I did see something I didn’t understand last weekend: a black swallowtail in the mud at the edge of a flooded low-water crossing. It stayed there for a very long time, just walking around and opening and closing its wings. Perhaps it was puddling, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The little blues are quite common here. And they are little, which is part of their appeal for me. I’m shaky on identifying butterflies but the blues belong to the gossamer wings group. I’d guess your swallowtail was puddling — a guy thing, boys and mud. 🙂


    1. Ah, if it were that simple. My challenge will be to buy a new camera. I do like my small Canon … easy to pick-up-and-go, no bag to haul with lenses etc. BUT … my closeups are less than ideal. Any recommendations for camera and macro lenses? You input would be much appreciated! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Canon SX series has macro and super macro plus pocket size. Current models 600 series and 700 series. The challenge is then to get within 5 inches while the beautiful blue remains undistracted. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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