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Behavior & Courtship


Dozens or even hundreds of butterflies may be seen sipping moisture from ground soaked with animal urine or damp spots contaminated by dung or dead animals. But the purpose of puddling is probably not to obtain moisture. After all, dew is usually readily available and moist areas around streams are abundant in much of Florida. The places where butterflies are seen puddling are usually laden with minerals and salts that are needed by the butterflies. Members of these "drinking clubs" or "puddlingclubs" are almost exclusively males. During mating, the male loses a substantial amount of sodium and other salts in the sperm package which is transferred to the female. These minerals must be replenished before he can mate again. Common puddlers include several species of sulphurs, blues, Tiger Swallowtails, and Red-spotted Purples.


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