Next Webcast

Watch the Vampcam!
STRI Panama

Common Vampire Bat, Desmodus rotundus, running on the ground. Photo by Uwe Schmidt.

Like primates, vampire bats groom each other, demonstrating cooperative social relationships. Gerry Carter, post doctoral researcher with STRI staff scientist, Rachel Page and with John Ratcliffe, assistant professor at the University of Toronto, asked how much time captive common vampire bats, Desmodus rotundus, spent grooming one another compared to four other bat species that also live in groups: the Jamaican fruit bat, Artibeus jamaicensis, a large fruit-eating species; Seba’s short-tailed bat, Carollia perspicillata, a generalist feeder that eats flowers, fruit and insects; the straw-colored fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, another generalist feeder; and the Egyptian fruit bat, Rousettus aegyptiacus, a fruit eater.

Captive vampire bats spent an average of 14 percent more time grooming each other than did the other bat species. They’re the only species of the five that share food: they regurgitate blood into the mouths of group members, another example of a cooperative behavior.

Newsweek, Broadly, National Geographic, Slate and others featured Gerry’s research in the last month. According to the article in Slate Magazine, Gerry thinks that vampires feeding on blood are cute—like cats drinking milk. You can decide for yourself, and help Gerry with his research by watching captive vampire bats on Vampcam, hosted by The Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC), and taking data about their behavior.

Bookmark and Share

A new field guide untangles identification of tropical vines

A striking feature of tropical forests, woody vines or lianas compete with trees for light, slowing tree growth or even killing them...

Will lionfish cross the Panama Canal?

Coral reefs of the Caribbean already faced warming waters, disease and human-induced degradation. Then the lionfish came along...

How much did indigenous peoples alter the Amazon forest?

Before Europeans arrived, indigenous peoples altered the Amazon forest but primarily along major rivers...


Archive News Archive   Download Acrobat Document Download STRI News as PDF