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 Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>