Once-In-A-Lifetime Photograph Was Taken Of A Caiman Bearing A Butterfly Crown In The Amazon

Sometimes you have to be at the right place at the right moment. However, most of the time being at the right place at the right time necessitates spending hours, days, weeks, and even years getting there!

This happened recently to photographer Mark Cowan, who traveled to the Amazon to investigate reptile and amphibian diversity. While there, he managed to snap a "once in a lifetime" image of a caiman lazing around with a crown of lovely butterflies resting on his head.

While traveling down the Amazon with the Herpetology Division at the University of Michigan to investigate reptile and amphibian diversity photographer Mark Cowan obtained a remarkable shot that is as aesthetically gorgeous as it is instructive. The picture depicts a snoozing caiman wearing a colorful butterfly crown. Biologically, the winged creatures require salt to exist, and the water that accumulates on the caiman's skin is an important source of these minerals. Other animals species must rely on similar commensalism to get the nutrition they need. While the caiman does not gain nutritionally from the connection, his cheeky face indicates that he is not bothered by the attention.

Cowan's Butterflies and Caiman earned a Special Commendation in the Ecology and Environmental Science Category of the 2016 Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition owing to the butterflies' unusual arrangement. Look closely—there are three species of butterflies present, and each species sticks to its own type.

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via [Colossal]

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