Common Vampire Bat - Behavior - Cooperation


Common vampire bats display a high amount of cooperative behavior. Females in a harem have strong social bonds between themselves that are reinforced through interactions in the roost. A harem male has moderately strong relationships with his females. In harems with multiple males, the males may have mutual bonds but they are not as strong as those of the females. While the harem male's relationship with outside bachelors males is mostly antagonistic, they are allowed into the harems during low ambient temperatures—possibly a form of social thermoregulation. Bats display reciprocal altruism by sharing food: when a bat is unsuccessful in feeding it solicits food from a roost-mate who regurgitates blood to feed its neighbor. This behavior likely evolved to combat starvation, as a bat cannot survive more than three nights without feeding. The females share blood with one another, the harem male shares blood with his females, and harem males may also share food with each other.

Female vampire bats display alloparenting. Lactating females in roosts will feed both young whose mothers have died, and those whose mothers are still alive. This mechanism evolved to keep the young from starving and to ease the burden of raising offspring. Vampire bats also participate in mutual grooming: two bats groom each other simultaneously to clean one another, and to strengthen social bonds. Bats that groom one another also share food. While grooming, a bat can assess the size of its partner’s abdomen to determine if it really needs to eat. Grooming is also dependent on kinship and relatedness. Mothers groom their offspring more than other bats, which may promote mutual recognition.

Read more about this topic:  Common Vampire Bat, Behavior

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