On my run today I saw a tiger swallowtail flutter over and land on a roadkilled snapping turtle. The carcass had putrefied and blackened, obviously been dead for several days at least, yet the butterfly landed right on it and began to lap up…whatever it wanted to lap up.
After doing research I found that butterflies reap some sort of chemical from rotting flesh for nutrition. Nature never fails to surprise me. And it never fails to upend my uninformed expectations. Some of us see butterflies as dainty pretty rainbows who only eat the sweet nectar of the flowers they so resemble…but moments like this remind me that butterflies are insects, just like gnats, flies, dung beetles, and other less appealing bugs. And their behavior doesn’t conform to expectations.