Butterflies with a taste for elephant dung: Puddling of adult butterflies on elephant dung in India’s Western Ghats

Anoop N.R, Femi E Benny , M.A. Yathumon , Aswaj Punnath 

Food Webs | 26 October. 2023

Elephants ingest a large quantity of plant material across the landscape and concentrate it at specific locations through dung and urine excretion, greatly enhancing local nutrient availability for various organisms. During our two-year study in India’s Western Ghats, we documented 26 butterfly species from five families puddling on elephant dung. This observation suggests that elephant dung may offer mineral supplementation, which could contribute to the fitness and reproductive physiology of butterflies in elephant habitats.