By: Wendy Langhans
Whenever butterflies stand still long enough for us to see them, they are most likely feeding on a brightly colored flower. Butterflies use their long, tongue-like proboscis to sip the sweet nectar from deep inside the blossom.
But sometimes we can observe a group of butterflies huddled together. Scientists have labeled this behavior “puddling” because it often occurs around moist puddles. The photos of these Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies were taken this week in North Carolina, where my husband and I are vacationing. But this behavior is not limited to east coast butterflies. At Towsley Canyon in Santa Clarita, other butterfly species have been observed gathering near the oil seep along the Wiley Canyon section of the trail.
Why do butterflies puddle? Are they gossiping? Checking out who has the most colorful markings? No – they’re standing around a buffet table. A moist puddle provides water – the butterfly equivalent of a punch bowl. And a dried-up puddle contains salt and other nutrients that a butterfly needs – the equivalent of a bowl of potato chips and a veggie platter.
So it’s just like your mother told you when you were young; you can’t live on desserts alone.
Join us at Towsley Canyon next Wednesday, September 26, from 7-9 PM for a Full Moon Hike. Towsley Canyon is located on the Old Road, west of I-5 and about 1/4 mile south of the Calgrove exit.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
For our complete hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to www.LAMountains.com.
To see what's playing on radio station KHTS, go to www.hometownstation.com, or tune in to AM 1220.