Wednesday, September 1

puddle, puddle, toil & huddle

The Molawin Creek at the Makiling Botanic Gardens has not yet recovered from the very dry summer and much of the creek bed is still exposed. So on our last visit, Adri & I were distracted from birding by the butterflies that were sipping minerals from the damp ground, a process aptly called puddling.

a pair of v. dejone jostling for position (spot the c. roxus in the picture)

we spotted several mapwings (c. maenalis)

Why do butterflies puddle?  Well, the explanation I always come across is that it's to extract important minerals (like sodium) which the butterflies can't get from their normal sugary nectar diets.  The sodium of course is needed for several physiological activities (but let's not get into molecular biology here!).  While puddling, you can see the butterflies ejecting the excess fluid (in filipino: sumisirit), much like pee-ing!

dragontails (l. meges) hardly stand still enough for a photo except when puddling

But the thing is, when butterflies puddle, it's a wonderful sight. They may puddle on the ground, on rotting fruit, on dung, urine or even carrion.  They often do so in high numbers (well higher than one), and it's a great opportunity to take photos of butterflies which otherwise never perch long enough for a decent picture.

there were more than this pair of c. roxus on the creek bed

this common jay (g. doson) and dragontail were taking turns "pee-ing"  (you can spot a drop on the tip of the dragontail's abdomen)  it was like they were engaging in pataasan ng ihi!

I've always thought of puddling butterflies as a social activity, but, these puddling butterflies probably only congregate because of the available prime puddling spot.  I've seen butterflies so "drunk" they become immobile and ignore even the most distracting movements.

some dragontails puddle with their wings laid out flat

Still... it's nice to imagine them exchanging the latest butterfly gossip in (im)proper lady-like fashion!


  1. interesting din pala talaga ang butterfly ano. gaganda pa!

  2. yup, lalo na kapag dead time ng mga ibon. haha.