This is, I kid you not, the actual title of a paper published in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society. I love it, because it sounds like it could just as easily be the fan-encyclopedia description of some minor creature from a Lovecraft story. The bees in question are workers from three species, Lisotrigona cacciae, L. furva and Pariotrigona klossi, and were studied--going about their tear-drinking business--in Thailand. From the paper...
...workers drank lachrymation (tears) from human eyes in more than 262 naturally-occurred cases at 10 sites in N and S Thailand during all months of the year. A few visits were also seen to eyes of zebu and dog, indicating a probable broad mammalian host range. On man the bees were relatively gentle visitors, mostly landing on the lower eyelashes from where they imbibed tears for 0.5-2.5 min, often singly but occasionally in congregations of 5-7 specimens per eye.
The authors think the bees have adapted to drink tears as a way to get some protein in their diet and may, possibly, drink tears in lieu of feeding on pollen at all. That's pretty nifty, if a bit creep-tastic.
Image shows a Thai bee, though I'm not sure if it's actually one of the species studied in this paper. From Flickr user travlinman43, via CC.
Jesse Singal requested this shoop, and I delivered. After all, who’s downloading pirated papers? Everyone. (I’ve uploaded this to Redbubble if you’d like a poster—of course, you can just as well pirate it.)
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