Watch the Vampcam!

November 30, 2015

Watch the Vampcam!

Like primates, vampire bats groom each other, demonstrating cooperative social relationships

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.


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