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Published: January 31, 2011

Recently acquired ectoparasites

Bruce Patterson, MacArthur Curator of Mammals, Integrative Research Center

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In September, following the 2nd Peruvian Mammal Congress, a group of us--headed by Dr. Horacio Zeballos and members of his lab at Univ. San Agustin in Arequipa, headed to the Pacific Coast to sample lomas formations near Atiquipa.  During three nights there, we caught representatives of two highly endemic bats restricted to the arid Western Slope of the Andes, the nectar-feeder Platalina and the insect-eating Amorphochilus.

In September, following the 2nd Peruvian Mammal Congress, a group of us--headed by Dr. Horacio Zeballos and members of his lab at Univ. San Agustin in Arequipa, headed to the Pacific Coast to sample lomas formations near Atiquipa.  During three nights there, we caught representatives of two highly endemic bats restricted to the arid Western Slope of the Andes, the nectar-feeder Platalina and the insect-eating Amorphochilus.  They proved to contain three genera of bat flies (blood-sucking ectoparasites that live in the hair and on the flight membranes of bats) not previously represented in the Museum's superb collection of bat flies.  These specimens are being studied both morphologically and genetically by my partners in the study of bats and their parasites, Dr Carl Dick (Western Kentucky University) and Dr Katharina Dittmar (SUNY Buffalo).

More photos of the hosts of some of these flies can be found on the ARKive.org site.


Bruce Patterson
MacArthur Curator of Mammals, Integrative Research Center

I study several topics in evolutionary biology, focusing on the diversification, distribution and conservation of mammals. The breadth of my research is testimony to the facts that no interesting biological questions are ever fully answered and progress towards answering them invariably opens up a variety of others.  Curiosity, opportunity, and a bit of wanderlust have diversified my program and caused it to span two continents.