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Monday, July 25, 2011

Vampire Bat

Beauty Of Animals | Vampire Bat  | Vampire bats are bats whose food source is blood, a dietary trait called hematophagy. There are three bat species that feed solely on blood: the Common Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus), the Hairy-legged Vampire Bat (Diphylla ecaudata), and the White-winged Vampire Bat (Diaemus youngi). All three species are native to the Americas, ranging from Mexico to Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.
Due to differences between the three species, they have each been placed within a different genus, each consisting of one species. In the older literature, these three genera were placed within a family of their own, Desmodontidae, but taxonomists have now grouped them as a subfamily, the Desmodontinae, in the American leaf-nosed bat family, Phyllostomidae.[citation needed]
The fact that the three known species of vampire bat all seem more similar to one another than to any other species suggests that sanguivorous habits (feeding on blood) evolved only once, and that the three species may share a common ancestor
Unlike fruit-eating bats, the vampire bat has a short, conical muzzle. It also lacks a nose leaf, instead having naked pads with U-shaped grooves at the tip. The common vampire bat also has specialized thermoreceptors on its nose,which aids the animal in locating areas where the blood flows close to the skin of its prey. A nucleus has been found in the brain of vampire bats that has a similar position and similar histology to the infrared receptor of infrared-sensing snakes.
Vampire bats generally have small ears and a short tail membrane. Their front teeth are specialized for cutting and their back teeth are much smaller than in other bats. The inferior colliculus, part of the bat's brain that processes sound, is well adapted to detecting the regular breathing sounds of sleeping animals that serve as their main food source. citation needed

While other bats have almost lost the ability to maneuver, on land, Vampire bats can also run by using a unique bounding gait, in which the forelimbs instead of the hindlimbs are recruited for force production as the wings are much more powerful than the legs. This ability to run seems to have evolved independently within the bat lineage.

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