The encounter between the insects, a Julia butterfly (Dryas iulia) and a bee (Centris sp.), and the spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) lasted more than 15 minutes, as the reptile placidly permitted the insects to sip from its eyes as it basked on a log. A Julia butterfly and a bee drink the tears of a spectacled caiman in northeastern Costa Rica’s Puerto Viejo River in 2013.
Carlos de la Rosa, an aquatic ecologist and director of the La Selva Biological Station in San Pedro, Costa Rica, led the group and photographed the occurrence.
A number of insect species including moths, butterflies, and bees are known to tear-feed, usually on mammals and in some cases even humans. Tear-feeding on reptiles is less well documented, but in every case the insect seems to be in pursuit of nutrients and minerals—chiefly salt. To scavenge the vital mineral, insects look for tears, sweat, feces, urine, and—among hematophagous insects like mosquitos—blood.
A similar, and better studied, insect behavior that seems to serve a similar purpose is called “mud-puddling.” Butterflies and other species that employ this strategy will congregate around and drink from puddles containing mineral deposits. Casas speculates that crocodiles and turtles—along with large mammals like cows—are likely targeted by salt-seeking insects due to their placid nature. De la Rosa estimates he’s seen the phenomenon at least four or five times in the past two years.
In 2009, Casas and his colleague Olivier Dangles observed a bee drinking the tears of a yellow-spotted river turtle in Yasuni National Park, in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Casas says the phenomenon could help shed light on “the surprising world of insect-vertebrate interactions.
To find the answer, de la Rosa and Casas both stressed the importance of  traditional field research—without which such serendipitous observations wouldn’t be possible—in a world of increasingly computerized research methods. What I have found lately in a study about the tears of humans is that according to the emotion we are experiencing at the time, so is our tear composed vis. So I beg the question is the crocodile, turtle, cow etc tears also changed according to it’s current emotion ? Should one wish to deny them emotions because they are animals, then think in terms of rest mode, pain, fear etc.
There was a lot of loose talk about crocodile tears, but the ugly reptile is a Caiman, not a crocodile.
It is tragic that scientists working on pesticides aren’t required to study the science of ecology and learn about how symbiosis works.
One of the tragedies of cheap food, which I outline in The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food, is that we dirty the nest we eat in; our pesticides kill pollinating insects (the good insects,so-called), which are no longer available to perform a critical function in nature and the seeding bed of agriculture. I used to had banana fly problem in my home and i noticed when i was sweating and dirty they keep coming to walk in my skin.It was annoying so i take shower and after that they did not wanted me at all.Now i know why thanks! There is an ancient mayan legend that speaks of four crocodiles that mysteriously came into existence to support the entire earth. Very interesting…These crocs and caimains certainly seem to be helping out the local insects.
Hi Robert, My understanding for why butterflies eat rotting fruit is to obtain the carbs that are released.
We’re Moving!As of October 22, 2014, Weird & Wild will be hosted on National Geographic's main news site.
The final question: If built, the proposed Grand Inga Dam would be the world's largest hydroelectric dam. Menon bested runner-up Shriya Yarlagadda, 11, of Michigan, who missed only one question through the entire contest (about the Sea of Azov). The competition was hosted by journalist Soledad Oa€™Brien and will be televised on National Geographic Channel and Wild, starting on Friday night. The finalists qualified for Wednesday's championship in a preliminary round on Monday that included 54 contestants from state and territory-level bees. Seven of the 10 finalists were repeat state winners, including two who are competing in the national bee for the third time. This week, the youngsters boned up on maps and textbooks and nervously explored National Geographica€™s campus and the city.

This yeara€™s finalists included Kapil Nathan of Alabama, Sojas Wagle of Arkansas, Nicholas Monahan of Idaho, Patrick Taylor of Iowa, Abhinav Karthikeyan of  Maryland, Lucy Chae of Massachusetts, Shriya Yarlagadda of Michigan, Shreyas Varathan of Minnesota, Karan Menon of New Jersey, and Tejas Badgujar of Pennsylvania. During one nail-biting moment Menon challenged the judges after he answered taconite when O'Brien had wanted iron ore for the name of a mineral-rich deposit in the Mesabi Range. National Geographic started the Bee in 1989 to improve geographic literacy among young people. Virginia eighth grader Akhil Rekulapelli (right) was named the 2014 National Geographic Bee winner.
If you can't name the world's most densely populated country, then you wouldn't have made it too far past the first round in the National Geographic Bee. The nationwide contest got a new champion, Virginia eighth grader Akhil Rekulapelli, on Wednesday, after a dramatic competition hosted by television journalist Soledad O'Brien that featured just such puzzlers. Each representing their home state, ten students flew through that first-round population question, by the way, moving on to the next round with barely a smile. The competition on stage was formidable: nine other students, including three who previously had competed in the finals. Virginia eighth grader Akhil Rekulapelli (left) and Florida fifth grader Ameya Mujumdar (right) answer Soledad O'Brien's questions during the final round. Never mind that most people couldn't answer the type of obscure questions the Bee is known for. As for what career a geography whiz kid is best suited for, Rekulapelli said he wants to one day go pre-med or study biology. The geography contest was created in 1989 in response to concern about a lack of geographic knowledge among American young people. Rekulapelli's win comes with the enviable prize of a $50,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Galápagos with National Geographic's Lindblad Expeditions.
Last year's winner, a Massachusetts 12-year-old named Sathwik Karnik, won by knowing the tallest mountain peak on Earth, when the Earth's bulge at the Equator is taken into consideration.
This question this year that decided the championship: Oyala, a planned city located in the rainforest 65 miles east of Bata, is being built as a capital for which African country?
Congratulations to Montverde Academy 8th grader Akash Tandon who has qualified to compete in the state level competition of the National Geographic Bee!
In December 2015, during a special afternoon Middle School Assembly before Montverde Academy’s Christmas break, Akash Tandon won the Montverde Academy Geography Bee.  10 students enrolled 4th through 8th grade (two contestants per grade level) competed in Montverde Academy’s annual Geography Bee – held inside the Sandra O. Washington: Karan Menon, a 14-year-old Indian-origin boy, answered questions about places from Tashkent to Telangana to win the National Geographic Bee championship here with the top three positions going to Indian-Americans.
Menon bagged the championship by answering the final question: If built, the proposed Grand Inga Dam would be the world's largest hydroelectric dam.
During one nail-biting moment, Menon challenged the judges after he answered taconite when host, journalist Soledad Oa€™Brien, had wanted iron ore for the name of a mineral-rich deposit in the Mesabi Range.
This year's finalists included Kapil Nathan of Alabama, Sojas Wagle of Arkansas, Nicholas Monahan of Idaho, Patrick Taylor of Iowa, Abhinav Karthikeyan of Maryland, Lucy Chae of Massachusetts, Shriya Yarlagadda of Michigan, Shreyas Varathan of Minnesota, Karan Menon of New Jersey and Tejas Badgujar of Pennsylvania. Four million students competed in local geography bees this year from 11,000 schools, representing roughly 12 percent of US schools.
A recent survey found that three of four American eighth graders lack basic proficiency in the subject.
Eighteen more bodies were found on Wednesday, taking the toll from Tuesday's earthquake in Nepal to 79, the government said.
The question therefore that faced India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru was how to deal with Chinese power on our northern borders. This annual contest, hosted by Alex Trebek, is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography. He reported his observations in a peer-reviewed letter in the May edition of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. While there’s no clear benefit to the animals providing the tears, he says, the behavior doesn’t seem to hurt them either.
Makes me wonder if we should place a little salt in our garden plants designed to host butterflies.

Three short comments: 1- No matter how small or big, all the creatures have a positive role to play in this world. I knew instantly that some insect bit me in the eye and I am asking myself why my eye when my arms and legs are more exposed to them.
They were able to keep it’s delicate balance in-tact by using the strength of their backs and the power of their determination.
I think it’s more likely that butterflies flocking towards old fruit are looking for sugar.
In this case, since only the butterflies or bees are benefiting and are likely doing no harm to the caiman, this would be a form of commensalism, not mutualism. My understanding is that there’s some debate in the scientific community regarding the exact definition of symbiosis and whether it extends past mutualisms to commensalistic relationship like you mention. But Karan Menon, 14, answered specific questions about those places to win the National Geographic Bee championship in Washington, D.C. Four million students competed in local geography bees this year from 11,000 schools, representing roughly 12 percent of U.S. A recent survey found that three of four American eigth graders lack basic proficiency in the subject. Rekulapelli bested more than four million students, who originally competed in school-level bees across the U.S. After winning his school bee in Ashburn, Virginia, Rekulapelli advanced to both a regional and state geography bee before being invited to the national championship.
Interviewed after the competition, Rekulapelli told National Geographic that he kept a strict long-distance study regimen with a coach in Florida. Four years later, National Geographic created the World Geographic Bee to foster international competition. Second place, for Florida's Mujumdar-who knew the Equator's exact dimensionsa€”comes with $25,000.
If you're between fourth and eighth grade and would have answered Equatorial Guinea, you might have a shot next year.
2- There are lot of lessons to learn and mimic from observing the behaviour of any creature. For now, it’s only the mud- and fruit-puddling butterflies of which I have had the privilege to make photographic collection. Analysing the photo I have come to this conclusion, that tears have toxics and harmful nutrients which might be disastrous for Crocodile’s vision but beneficial for flying insects (bees and butterflies) in order to balance their existence in nature. The crocodile uses the insects to clear out its retinal fluids… thus making it flush out more hence helping it clean out its mucus glands. The second scientist I interviewed observed the same species of beer drinking tears from a river turtle and estimated that the bee was several inches long. There’s been some evidence that the alcohol in fermenting fruit can cause fruit flies to get drunk so perhaps the butterflies are looking for a buzz!
Students who qualify between fourth and eighth grade come with their parents to demonstrate their mastery of maps and the world's many idiosyncrasies. The ten finalists this year and next year will vie for spots on a three-person team that will represent the United States next year in Stockholm. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. 3- More importantly is to be thankful to the great creator who provided us with the observations and analysis skills. The departures often come with visible heartbreak and emotion, the mountains of expectations from parents and teachers mixed with the disappointment of falling short.

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