New paper: The evolution of blood-feeding

I recently wrote a paper with Dan Riskin entitled “The evolution of sanguivory in vampire bats: origins and convergences” (if you cannot access it, get it here). It’s a review of the evolution of blood-feeding, which has occurred more than two dozen times among different animals, from mammals, birds and fishes to molluscs, crustaceans, and worms. We review the different speculative hypotheses about how blood-feeding might have first started in the ancestors of vampire bats, we explain what we know about the evolution of blood-feeding in other taxa, and we discuss some neat examples of evolutionary convergence. This paper was invited for a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Zoology to commemorate retired bat biologist Brock Fenton. The foreword reads:

This article appears in a festschrift of the Canadian Journal of Zoology honouring the contributions of M. Brock Fenton to bat biology. Three decades ago, Dr. Fenton wrote a paper proposing that the vampire bats may have evolved from a wound-feeding insectivorous ancestor (Fenton 1992). That hypothesis, based on observations of other animals, was novel and would prove to be a significant contribution to the field. However, while Fenton’s paper outlined predictions about fossils that might support or disprove the wound-feeding hypothesis, no such fossils have emerged. Here, with the benefit of 30 subsequent years of vampire bat research, we revisit Fenton’s original question about the origins of blood-feeding in vampire bats. We (both coauthors) did our master’s degrees under Dr. Fenton and had the privilege of doing fieldwork with him—including work on vampire bats. Dr. Fenton has been an inspiring mentor, collaborator, and friend throughout our careers, and we dedicate this article to him.

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