Sand Butterflies?(TW: images of butterflies)

At a beach, one of my family members picked up a clump of wet sand on which a butterfly(probably common grass yellow) was resting, its wings stuck to the sand(it flew away before I could take a picture), then landed on the sand sideways(while I have not uploaded the picture of the original butterfly yet, this is another one of the same species that I saw a few minutes later, that landed in the same position). It was low tide at the time, and the butterflies flew away from shore, occasionally stopping to land sideways for a few minutes. (TW: lepidopterophobia, image of butterfly)

I also observed a grass skipper of some sort(no picture) that was flying in the sand and later was resting on the side of a shoe, then flew off. Is there any reason these butterflies were so close to the ocean(less than 5 meters from ocean)? Did winds blow them there? A bit further away from shore(20-50 meters, I’d estimate) there was a field of a leguminous plant growing in the sand(psammophyte), probably beach bean, where I observed common grass yellow and some member of Polyommatinae(blues).

1 Like

I don’t know if this holds true for these butterflies, but I’ve observed similar with bees. Over the past couple of years, a beach I frequent regularly has honey bees in the intertidal zone, most of them drowned/half-drowned. There used to be creeks/swamps in the bush behind the beach, but the area has been in drought and they all dried up. Honey bees need a lot of water each day, so it seems like they were coming down onto the beach in search of water, and either getting smacked by the waves or drinking seawater and likely suffering some ill effects.

Over the past few months, rain has returned and some of the swamps have filled again; I’m seeing far fewer bees on the beach now.

2 Likes

Interesting, I assumed that insect pollinators obtain water from the nectar they drink. Apparently butterflies obtain minerals to supplement their diet by drinking water in mud(known as mud-puddling(TW: lepidopterophobia, close-up of butterflies), perhaps the same can be said for seawater though it’s a bit of a stretch, as I did not actually observe any mud-puddling(sand-puddling?) butterflies.

found another one at a different beach, this one is a tawny coster and it is dead, although I saw two other individuals further away from the sea

The lower wing appears to be broken.