Today’s Tuesday Photo is of an adorable little skipper butterfly, courtesy of Shubhada Nikharge.  And yes, it is taking a drink from what you think it is–bird poop.  Bird droppings have a lot of nitrogen, as well as salts and other minerals that butterflies need. Think of it as a rather splatty vitamin suppliment.  Most plants don’t have high salt or nitrogen in their tissues or nectar, so butterflies seek it out from other sources.  A little factoid to enjoy with your morning coffee.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Entomologist. Educator. Writer. NERD.


  1. I’ve always enjoyed seeing skippers — they really are different than other butterflies. You can recognize one from a distance sometimes.

  2. Considering how “ew” an entomology picture can get, consider me greatly relieved (no pun intended). Nitrogen, yum. =) Lovely little creature.

  3. Hah, eww. Reminds me of a Callopistromyia fly I shot a year or two ago. It was doing that courtship display that picture-wing flies do, dancing around with the wings held upright — but the other fly it was dancing in front of was in fact a dry bird turd.

  4. “Poo, it does a body good!”

  5. I have just discovered your blog. I am studying to be an entomologist myself. I like your pictures and writing. Thanks for this.

  6. uhoh.

    Just scrolling down after the “____gate” post, thinking of my personal pet peeve, CNN’s use of “factoid” and then what do I see?

    So, is the above claim factual, or just factoid? ;)

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