Relationship between bats and vampires

Social Grooming in Bats: Are Vampire Bats Exceptional?

relationship between bats and vampires

Although many people assume that the association of bats and vampires is an ancient A rich vampire folklore among various gypsy groups of eastern Europe . Actually, these bats are not the only animals who drink blood, but they ar Why are vampires usually associated to bats if there were no blood-sucking bats in the Old World . Is it the association with vampires in myths and pop culture?. Find out who's on the menu for vampire bats, the only mammals that can fly and 'There is hope on the border': In Tijuana, resilience endures among migrants.

Vampire bats spent 3. Together with past data, this result supports the hypothesis that the elevated social grooming rate in the vampire bat is an adaptive trait, linked to their social bonding and unique regurgitated food sharing behavior. Introduction Long-term cooperative relationships are most evident in primates [ 1 — 6 ], but evidence for similar social relationships has been accumulating for several other social vertebrate groups [ 378 ], including cetaceans [ 910 ], bats [ 11 ], elephants [ 12 ], hyenas [ 13 — 15 ] and ravens [ 16 — 20 ].

The functional importance of these complex social relationships across different species may have led to similar cognitive or behavioral mechanisms for manipulating social bonds [ 19 — 24 ].

Vampire Bat - Bat Facts and Information

A prime example of such a mechanism is social grooming—the cleaning of the body by a partner. Although most of what is known about social grooming comes from studies of primates, evidence for a role of social grooming in maintaining social ties is emerging from several other mammals marsupials [ 42 ], deer [ 43 ], cows [ 44 ], horses [ 45 ], voles [ 46 ], mice [ 47 ], meerkats [ 4849 ], coati [ 5051 ], lions [ 52 ] and group-living birds [ 5354 ].

relationship between bats and vampires

In bats, adult social grooming is female-biased in species with female philopatry [ 55 — 58 ], and has been most studied in the common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus [ 5559 — 60 ]. These two species both have long lifespans and demonstrate fission-fusion social dynamics, where individuals maintain long-term social associations while moving between several roost trees [ 61 — 63 ].


In both species, social grooming rates among individuals were not predicted by self-grooming or numbers of parasites [ 5557 ]. Patterns of social grooming among categories of individuals also differed between the two species.

In vampires, female social grooming was highly symmetrical and relatively common among non-kin, where it correlated with co-roosting association and food sharing [ 5560 ]. It is not entirely clear if vampire bat social grooming is typical or exceptional when compared to other bats or non-primate mammals. One hypothesis is that social grooming in vampire bats is exceptional in quantity and quality, because it is related to their uniquely cooperative food sharing behavior [ 55 ].

relationship between bats and vampires

Like many primates, reciprocal patterns of vampire bat food sharing and social grooming extend beyond mother-offspring bonds, suggesting they may provide both direct and indirect fitness benefits [ 116065 ]. Among bats, the common vampire has an extraordinarily large brain and neocortex for its body size [ 6667 ].

Vampire Bat

In primates, increased neocortex size has been linked to higher metrics of social complexity, such as social grooming network size [ 68 ] and strategic deception [ 69 ]. Alternatively, the apparent distinctiveness of vampire bat social grooming might stem from purely ecological factors.

The Case For Vampire Bats

Social grooming may be more obvious in vampire bats due to higher levels of ectoparasite infestation. Bat fly density has been linked to species-level grooming rates [ 70 ] and the two vampire species that were observed ranked 5th and 6th place out of 53 neotropical bats for average number of parasitic streblid flies per bat [ 71 ]. A sampling bias could also over-emphasize social grooming in vampire bats, because there is much effort focused on studying vampire bat social behavior [ 65 ] and a lack of data on social grooming in other bats.

relationship between bats and vampires

Comparing social grooming data across studies can be difficult due to study differences in ectoparasite density, temperature, sampling method, visibility, and level of human disturbance.

We compared adult-to-adult social grooming in vampire bats Desmodus rotundus, two frugivorous bats Carollia perspicallata and Artibeus jamaicensis Family: One of those big bats that they call 'vampires' had got at her during the night and But Stoker's major contribution to the association of vampires with bats was his introduction of the idea that a vampire could shapeshift into the form of a bat as well as a wolf and mist.

For example, in his pursuit and seduction of Lucy, Count Dracula frequently disguises himself in the form of a large bat which flaps at her window. In Stoker's novel such a "vampire bat" is, of course, quite capable of attacking and draining humans.

Vampire bat

This motif found its way into the movies. This was the movie that provided the twentieth century with its most memorable and lasting images of Count Dracula including the batsimages that survive to this very day.

Even the medical community has latched on to the Dracula-bat connection! A Venezuelan research team have isolated a previously unknown anticoagulant glycoprotein from Desmodus rotundus the common vampire bat.

This substance targets activated forms of blood coagulation factors, thus inhibiting them immediately. Named "draculin," this anticoagulant agent promises to be significant in the development of improved drugs to fight heart disease and stroke. Bram Stoker would certainly be amazed!