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Hey it's me Destin. Welcome back to Smarter Every Day.
We are back with Phil Torres, entomologist, and about two years ago I created a
video about butterflies that I thought were eating a fish.
They appear to have taken down their prey.
Well that's not what was happening at all, was it.
(Phil) No. (Destin) What are they doing? - It's called puddling. Basically they're drinking
the minerals in the sand to get salt. - Alright so here's the deal. This is
the Tambopata River, which feeds into the Amazon River. It's a little bit different
than Alabama but right over there, if you look really really close you can
see there are some yellow butterflies. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna take this
high speed camera, see if we can sneak up on em, and get high speed of
all those butterflies puddling. See what it looks like.
OK it's gonna take me a second to get over there, so let's talk.
When you come up on a big group of butterflies like this they're almost all male.
This is why. When I fertilize my wife, I provide her selflessly with
some liquid that has little swimmy things in it and my genetic code.
But male butterflies are much more heavily invested than this. They create what's called a
spermataphore. Now that's basically just a structure that has all their
swimmy things in it but it also has nutrients that they've collected and saved for her.
Like sodium and things like that. You see when a female lays eggs on a
leaf, it requires a lot of sodium. And so he's helping out with the
resource budget by giving her the spermataphore that she can draw from with her body.
It's pretty cool. So when I go over here and we kick up all these butterflies
I just almost hear a bunch of little angry voices saying "Hey!"
"Can't you see we're trying to gather nutrients for our spermataphores here?"
Anyway, I'm almost there. Let's check it out in high speed.
- Oop. I'm falling. Alright my leg's in a hole
I'm not really gonna be able to move here. You want to walk up on them from that side and scare them a little bit?
- You got it. - 3..2..1..Go.
- Awesome! - Nice.
Alright that's it. If you want to see the entire video
with the time code so you can figure out how many butterflies are flying at what time, I'll leave a link right
here. So go click on that and you can go look at that video. Otherwise, that's it.
You know what it is right? (Wife) Salt water.
- Do you know how much work it was to make this for you?!
[laughs] You don't want to play
along do you. - No. [laugh]
[ Captions by Andrew Jackson ] captionsbyandrew.wordpress.com
Captioning in different languages welcome. Please contact Destin if you can help.