Crocodile tears provide much-needed minerals for butterflies and bees, ecologist says

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:02 AM ET

Crocodile tears offer a boost of minerals and proteins for butterflies and bees in Costa Rica, scientists have learned.

Aquatic ecologist Carlos de la Rosa was on a boat on the Rio Puerto Viejo River in December when he spotted a caiman crocodile resting on the banks and a butterfly and bee hovering near the crocodile's eyes.

Salt is uncommon in the area and de la Rosa said the thirsty insects were drinking the crocodile's tears. When minerals are rare in the soil, animals sometimes gather salt and other minerals and proteins from sweat, tears, urine, and even blood.

"It was one of those natural history moments that you long to see up close," de la Rosa said in a peer-reviewed letter in the May issue of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


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