Foraging vampire bats can expect big meals or none at all

About 7% of 340 adult vampire bats and 33% of 258 younger bats (<2 years of age) failed to feed on a given night. But when they do feed, wild vampire bats fill up like water balloons. Jon Flanders took this picture of a male vampire bat. He had originally caught this bat around the … Continue reading Foraging vampire bats can expect big meals or none at all

Can friendships reduce the burden on family?

In an upcoming paper, I show that when a female bat feeds another bat, this allows her to add another possible donor to her own 'social safety net'. There's an obvious benefit to her: bats with larger sharing networks are more successful at getting fed. But there’s potentially a more subtle benefit. If a hungry bat … Continue reading Can friendships reduce the burden on family?

Goals of science vs Goals of scientists (& a love letter to PLOS One)

This monster post has been sitting on my computer hard-drive for a few months (seriously). For awhile, I was too scared to publish it. What I've written below is based on a (very) informal talk I gave at a graduate student seminar series at University of Maryland. To get the gist, the slides for that talk … Continue reading Goals of science vs Goals of scientists (& a love letter to PLOS One)

Crèches in bats and the ‘huddler’s dilemma’

This photo taken by Jerry Wilkinson shows a tight cluster of bat pups in Africa (Rhinolophus darlingi). Several species of bats leave their pups behind in tight clusters like this called crèches. The smaller image shows one adult female greater spear-nosed bat (Phyllostomus hastatus) left behind with several pups unrelated to her. Both these images … Continue reading Crèches in bats and the ‘huddler’s dilemma’