The photo below was a finalist in the 2016 Royal Society Publishing photo contest, and let’s be real – it’s pretty damned magical even before you know the truth about what’s going on.
The animal in this picture is a caiman, a relative of the alligator not typically known for its softer side. And yet, here he is wearing a crown of butterflies like some kind of majestic fairy king in disguise. It’s interesting how the butterflies seem to have arranged themselves by type, but you might be more curious why, exactly, they’re sitting so close to those scary-looking teeth.
Here’s the part you might not have known until now – butterflies require salt in their diet (like most creatures), and they are known to drink the tears of other animals in order to consume it.
I don’t know why that seems so ethereal and magical to me, like they’re trying to drink away pain (even though, I know caymans don’t cry pain tears the way we do, shut up), but it does. Sue me, I love magic.
If you love amazing photographs, you can check out the other finalists in the contest here.