Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Real Life Vampires Don’t Wait For Halloween To Be Blood-Thirsty

29.10.2009
Who is your favorite vampire? Do you swoon over Edward Cullen and Bill Compton, or are classic bloodsuckers like Count Dracula and Lestat de Lioncourt more your style?

As fun as it is to obsess over and be scared by these fictional vampires, the real things are much more fascinating. Here is some blood-curdling information from National Wildlife Federation on living, breathing vampires that might just be stalking you.

Vampire Bats
Meet Desmodus rotundus and his cousins Diphylla ecaudata and Diaemus youngi, known respectively as the common, hairy-legged and white-winged vampire bats. Found only in the Americas, their collective range goes from Mexico down through Argentina. These bats feed exclusively on the blood of other animals. The common vampire bat typically goes for mammals, including domestic cows and horses, while the other two species prefer to feed upon birds—although the occasional human does make it on the menu. Thankfully, the bite of one of these bats won’t turn you into a vampire although the wounds can become infected.
Mosquitoes
For mosquitoes, it’s the ladies who are the bloodsuckers. Both sexes feed on flower nectar as their main source of nutrients. Only when she’s ready to reproduce does the female mosquito seek out a blood meal. She needs the added protein boost in order to lay her eggs and create a whole new generation of lady vampires.
Lampreys
These eel-like creatures are something right out of science fiction horror. Their disc-shaped mouths are filled with circles of razor-sharp teeth, which they use to bore into the flesh of their victims. They can remain attached for days or even weeks, all the while sucking in blood and body fluids. One species, the sea lamprey, has been introduced into the Great Lakes where it has become a problematic invasive exotic species. This lamprey can grow to almost 2 feet in length and the native lake fish it feeds upon often don’t survive the draining.
Bed Bugs
The goodnight rhyme “nite nite, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” takes on macabre twist when you learn that in the last few years, these little vampires are on the rise. Nearly eradicated in the North America for 50 years, bed bugs are back with a blood-sucking vengeance, showing up everywhere from high-end hotels to college dorms to rural bedrooms. After their victims fall asleep, bed bugs emerge from their hiding places in cracks and crevices and insert their sucking mouthparts in a series of bites along the blood vessels, drinking as they go and leaving as series of red, itchy welts.
Oxpeckers and Vampire Finches
There are several bird species that form symbiotic relationships with larger animals. The larger animals tolerate the birds’ presence on their bodies, leaving the birds free to feast upon ticks and other parasites that are lodged in the skin feeding upon the animals’ blood. It’s a win-win situation. But oxpeckers are birds that take it one step further. Not only do they feed upon invertebrate parasites, they are happy to consume bits of flesh and blood of their host animals while they’re at it. Vampire finches inhabit the Galapagos Islands and supplement their diet of seeds, insects and nectar with the blood of other birds, usually the blue-footed booby. They peck a hole in the flesh of the booby to get the larger bird’s blood and strangely, the boobies hardly seem to notice.
Leeches
Few animals evoke the “icky-creepies” in people as much as worms do with their slimy squirminess and their faceless, legless bodies. When such a creature also feeds upon human blood, it only adds to the horror factor. Such is the case with leeches. These parasitic worms attach themselves to their host and bloat themselves on blood. While most leeches are external parasites, some species will swim into nasal cavities and stay there, feeding and growing. Capable of holding undigested blood in their stomachs, parasitic leeches can go months between feedings.
Candiru Catfish
There are several species of diminutive candiru catfish that inhabit South American rivers. Some seek out larger fish and use their spiny mouths to attach themselves to the gills of their victims, where they makes an incision with their teeth and drink their fill of fish blood. Some species actually burrow inside the bodies of their prey, leaving a wound that looks like a bullet hole. Once inside they suck blood from the internal organs. This is the fish that gained international fame recently when one swam up a man’s penis, where it fed for several days before having to be surgically removed. Few things are more horrifying than even the thought of that!

Even scary wildlife isn’t safe from habitat destruction, global warming, pollution and other human-caused problems. Read more about real life wildlife vampires and NWF at www.nwf.org/nationalwildlife.

David Mizejewski | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.nwf.org/nationalwildlife
http://www.nwf.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>