Ecologist Carlos de la Rosa was in the Viejo River in Costa Rica when he noticed a spectacled caiman sitting on a log with two companions: a butterfly and a bee. This trio seemed quite unlikely, especially given what the two insects were doing: they were drinking the caiman’s tears. Fortunately, de la Rosa was able to record what he saw.
Why do the insects do this? In certain regions, minerals like salt are a very hot commodity. The insects need the salt and get them from the best place they can—tears. Butterflies and bees will also drinks tears from turtles.
So what does the caiman get out of it? Not a lot, most likely. It sits on the log to warm up for long periods of time and probably isn’t bothered much by the insects using it as a food source. Insects in this area have also been known to feed off of the sweat or urine of humans!
[Hat tip: Amina Khan, LA Times]
[Main image: Carlos de la Rosa, via LiveScience]