Thirsty butterflies and bees drink caiman tears

A very thirsty bee (Centris sp) and a butterfly (Dryas iulia) found a source of nutrients in the tears of a caiman (Caiman crocodilus) that was basking in the sun on the banks of the Puerto Viejo river in Costa Rica.

Carlos de la Rosa, an ecologists who was passing by, managed to capture the moment on film. "It was one of those natural history moments that you long to see up close," said de la Rosa in a press release. "But then the question becomes, what's going on in here? Why are these insects tapping into this resource?"

In a peer-reviewed letter published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, de la Rosa explains that both the butterfly and the bee were not only seeking to quench their thirst but looking for salt and other minerals.