Butterflies and mud puddling

Butterflies restlessly fly around, sipping nectar, never sitting in one place for a long time. Have you see butterflies in clusters sitting very quietly on mud? At Salim Ali Centre, I saw a cluster of yellow butterflies huddled up together. I took many pictures of the butterflies and showed it to Dr. Pramod. You know why these butterflies are in the mud, he asked. Then he went ahead to explain the phenomenon.

It is called mud puddling he said. Male butteflies involve themselves into mud puddling. Through this act, the butteflies absorb nutrients like amino acids and salts into their body. The male butterfly which absorbs most of the minerals would be a strong contender in mating. The minerals absorbed are then transferred to the female butterfly. This nutrition increases the survival of the eggs. A precise reason why a female butterfly would choose the strongest contender. It is the matter of having healthier generations ahead. Mud puddling is done after monsoon, most of the times..

The next time you see a bunch of butteflies quiet in wet mud, you know what they are doing.

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