Hundreds of butterflies cluster on a rotting pile in rare feeding behaviour

Butterflies migrating through south India put on a rare display, gathering in a dense swarm around a muddy pool in a unique feeding tactic last Friday (November 23).

At the Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala state, wildlife watcher Biju Thenkudi was conducting a natural study camp and while trying to demonstrate how to approach butterflies, observed a swarm of the insects in a single spot.

This tactic, called 'mud-puddling', is an insect behaviour most often seen among butterflies, where they densely swarm around rotting or muddy matter and consume rare nutrients from the slime produced by its decay.

This area of southwest India is known to have an ongoing butterfly migration every year from the end of November to the beginning of January. The migration route is always through open areas like rivers and roads with thousands coming through every day, often resting between 12:00pm to 2:00pm.