Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Chiroptera Phyllostomidae

Scientific Name: Desmodus rotundus
Species Authority: (É. Geoffroy, 1810)
Common Name(s):
English Common Vampire Bat, Vampire Bat

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Barquez, R., Perez, S., Miller, B. & Diaz, M.
Reviewer(s): Medellín, R. (Chiroptera Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Uruguay, Northern Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Northern Chile north to Sonora, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas (Mexico); Margarita Island (Venezuela); Trinidad (Simmons 2005). Also Uruguay.
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Trinidad and Tobago; Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Abundant. This bat is a social animal that hunts and lives in groups. The bats live in colonies consisting of both males and females. In captivity, dominance hierarchies based on access to food were observed, but there is little conclusive evidence of complex hierarchies in the wild. Curiously, most close associations are formed between several females or females and their offspring; adult males do not form close social ties in the roost. Females frequent more roost site than males, making associations in many different places. The associations between females are maintained over many years. Wilkinson (1985, 1986) reported that although self-grooming occurs more often, social grooming is an important part of the vampire bat's behaviour. Social grooming usually occurs between females and their offspring, but it is also significant between adult females. The adult females participating in grooming are usually closely related or roost mates. Wilkinson (1986) found that social grooming has more to do with food sharing than with the removal of ectoparasites. In many instances, social grooming begins with one female approaching another and grooming her for as long as two minutes. The female being groomed then regurgitates part of her blood meal for the grooming female. It is also common to see females regurgitate food for their offspring.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Found in large colonies. Hematophagous. Common vampire bats are limited to warm climates. They can be found in both arid and humid parts of the tropics and subtropics. They occur up to 2400 meters in elevation (Ramirez, pers. comm.). The bats usually live in colonies ranging from 20 to 100 individuals although much larger colonies (up to 5,000) have been reported. Desmodus rotundus roosts in moderately lighted caves with deep fissures, and in tree hollows. Vampire bats can also be found in old wells, mine shafts, and abandoned buildings. Roosts often smell strongly of ammonia because of the digested blood that has collected in the crevices and on the floors of the roosts (Mulheisen and Anderson 2001).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is persecuted due to rabies but this is not a major threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a need for building human resource capacity for colonies elimination.

Classifications [top]

0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
suitability: Suitable  
7. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) -> 7.1. Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) - Caves
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.2. Artificial/Terrestrial - Pastureland
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas
suitability: Suitable  
4. Education & awareness -> 4.2. Training

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:Yes

Bibliography [top]

Mulheisen, M. and Anderson, R. 2001. Desmodus rotundus (On-line). Available at: (Accessed: May 10).

Simmons, N. B. 2005. Order Chiroptera. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 312-529. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Wilkinson, G. 1985. The social organization of the common vampire bat. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 17(2): 111-122.

Wilkinson, G. 1986. Social grooming in the common vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus. Animal Behaviour 34(6): 1880-1889.

Citation: Barquez, R., Perez, S., Miller, B. & Diaz, M. 2008. Desmodus rotundus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T6510A12786384. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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