Why Do Pretty Butters Land On Ugh!

Azure Butterflies on Fecies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

For us, finding a butterfly 1 millimeter from bird droppings, with its proboscis extended into the white part of the bird scat (poop), is expectable, even a relief. Why? We know that lots of butterflies will remain in place, even on our practiced approach. We know why.

For those of you who do not pursue butterflies, who do not try to capture fine images of them, this scene is . . . what? Disgusting.

Understand this. This Spring Azure Butterfly is probably a male. He surely has flown for hours. Why? Flow here there and everywhere, seeking a female. His DNA is continuously instructing him to find a female, and couple with her. This to insure that this fine male’s strong characteristics are propelled into the next generation.

Why bird scat? Why the white, liquid part of bird poop? That white glomp is actually the excretion produced from the bird it came from, rich in the Nitrogen released from the muscle proteins that have kept the bird aloft, those same muscle protein becoming worn-out, and in need of replacement.

This Spring Azure is harvesting that Nitric Acid rich excretion, will use the Nitrogen in it to synthesize (form) new wing muscle protein, vital to the coming hours of near continuous flight, until those females are met.

The working of the Universe is amazing. Hey, I loved to teach High School Biology. Loved it. (Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania, 8 hours west of the Sopranos’ New Jersey).

Jeff

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