Yet another weird SF fan


I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Monday, January 04, 2010

Sexy Vampires and Reality

I have heard that there are a couple of movies based on the concept of a girl falling in love with a sexy vampire. The really odd thing is that there's a similar phenomenon in the real world: Vampire bats will sometimes induce a chicken to act as though the bat were a rooster. According to an article in Natural History:

White-winged vampire bat (Diaemus) climbs onto the back of a hen, which crouches as if mounted by a rooster. The bat will then feed, typically from the rear portion of the bird’s fleshy comb. The bite is never violent and very often occurs as the bird shifts position slightly.

………

During the terrestrial feeding bouts of our white-winged vampires, we also recorded a parasite–host interaction that rivaled chick mimicry on the “weird-o-meter.” When a bat leaped or climbed onto a chicken’s back to get a meal, a male chicken would quickly grow agitated and dislodge the bat with a shake and a peck. A hen mounted in this fashion, however, would immediately assume a crouching posture, giving the bat the opportunity to scuttle forward and bite the back of the bird’s head or its fleshy comb. The hen would maintain this crouch until after the vampire bat had finished feeding and hopped off. With a little research into poultry behavior, we learned that this was the exact posture taken by a hen while being mounted by a male bird—for a completely different purpose.

If chickens made the Twilight movies, they would be documentaries.

But wait, there's more. Vampire bats will imitate chicks as well as roosters. Earlier in the same article:

It was on one of the first of those special feeding days that I noticed two of the white-winged vampires doing something incredible. They crawled across the floor of their feeding enclosure like a pair of spiders, and then one of the bats made a bold approach to a rather large hen. The bird cocked her head to one side, eyeing the bats. Her beak could have severely injured or even killed them, so I got ready to intervene. Sharing my concern, perhaps, one of the vampires stopped a couple of inches beyond pecking distance. The other bat, however, crept even closer, and then, amazingly, it nuzzled against the hen’s feathery breast. Instead of becoming alarmed or aggressive, the bird seemed to relax. The vampire responded by pushing itself even deeper into what I would later learn was a sensitive section of skin called the brood patch: a feather-free region, densely packed with surface blood vessels, where body heat is efficiently transferred to the hen’s eggs or to her chicks. As I watched, the hen reacted to the bat by fluffing her feathers, hunkering down—and closing her yes.

My God, I thought, these bats have learned to mimic chicks!

I'm waiting for a movie in which an incredibly-cute kid turns out to be a vampire … unless it's been done.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Vader said...

I despise the whole Twilight phenomenon.

Avatar ecosystem, solar-powered tanning salons, and now this ... you're really on a roll today, Joseph.

12:07 PM  

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