Male butterflies are driven to drink | Science News

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Male butterflies are driven to drink

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9:06am, August 20, 2002

Monarch butterflies that winter in California's Pismo Beach, especially males that had a demanding day, search out dewdrops as a water source.

Butterfly watchers have long studied so-called puddling behavior, where butterflies congregate around water edges, says Dennis Frey of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He noticed something he suspected might be similar while he watched butterflies set off early in the morning toward a dewy meadow.

Frey and his colleagues found that after a sunny day with low humidity, more butterflies visited the dewy meadow than usual, some of them increasing their body weight by 7 percent with a long drink of water. However, Frey also noticed that after a day when the colony he was tracking had been particularly busy mating, the percentage of males going out for a drink rose. The researchers report their findings in the summer Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society.

Butterfly matings begin when a male s

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