Vampire bats drink human blood after habitat damage


This 2012 video is called Vampire Bats | World’s Weirdest.

From the International Business Times:

A new species of vampire bat has started to feed on human blood

Hairy-legged bat was thought to feed only on bird blood, but human disruption of its habitat made it change tack.

By Martha Henriques

January 12, 2017 10:37 GMT

Updated 1 hr ago

A South American species of hairy-legged vampire bat that was thought to feed only on birds has been caught feeding on human blood for the first time, prompting concerns about disease transmission in the country if the bats become rabid.

Scientists studying bat poo found in three out of 15 samples from the bats, living in the Caatinga dry forests of north-east Brazil, there were traces of DNA from human blood, according to a study published in the journal Acta Chiropterologica.

The bat species studied is usually a fastidious eater and only feeds on bird blood, which has a very different composition compared with mammal blood. But the bats are adapting fast, and the scientists noted significant and regular consumption of human blood.

The scientists say that human activity is likely to be the cause in the bats’ changing tastes.

“The record of humans as prey and the absence of blood from native species may reflect a low availability of wild birds in the study site, reinforcing the impact of human activities on local ecological processes,” the study authors write in the paper.

Humans are increasingly inhabiting the forests, bringing domestic animals with them. The birds – such as guans and tinamous– that are the bats’ favoured source of blood are being driven out of the area.

“We were quite surprised,” study author Enrico Bernard of the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, told the New Scientist. “This species isn’t adapted to feed on the blood of mammals.”

Bats are known to transmit rabies in Brazil, with outbreaks of the disease killing 23 people in northern Brazil within two months in 2005. A total of 55 cases of rabies in humans were reported in the Amazon region.

Human activity has previously been linked to the prevalence of bat-related rabies outbreaks in South America, with the introduction of livestock and landscape modification being key factors affecting the bats’ feeding habits and disease transmission.

Three new flatworm species discovered in Brazil


This video says about itself:

Huge flatworm (Platyhelminthes) on the move

16 August 2009

We discovered this flatworm on one of our nightly walks in the jungle of Itatiaia National Park in Brazil.

From Phys.org:

Hidden diversity: 3 new species of land flatworms from the Brazilian Araucaria forest

January 9, 2017

A huge invertebrate diversity is hidden on the forest floor in areas of the Araucaria moist forest, Brazil. Land flatworms constitute a numerous group among these invertebrates occurring in the Neotropical region. Flatworms are considered to be top predators within the soil ecosystem, preying on other invertebrates.

The Araucaria moist forest is part of the Brazilian Atlantic Rain Forest and is considered a hotspot of land flatworm diversity, harboring many yet undescribed species. A study recently published in the open access journal ZooKeys describes three new species from areas covered by Araucaria moist forest in South Brazil, which belong to the Neotropical genus Cratera.

Land flatworms lack a water retention mechanism and have a low tolerance to intense changes in temperature and humidity. Their low vagility leads to the existence of a high number of endemic species. Thus, they are considered good bioindicators of the degree of impact on their habitat.

The new species are named after characteristics of their color pattern and are probably endemic for the study areas. Besides differing from each other, as well as from other species of the genus, by their characteristic color pattern, they also show other distinguishing features in the reproductive system. The study provides an identification key to the species of the genus.

The work was conducted by the south Brazilian research group on triclads, led by Dr. Ana Leal-Zanchet, of the Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS), in southern Brazil. The study was supported by the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq).

Flatworms in the Netherlands: here.

Brazilian samba, 100 years


This video says about itself:

Brazil’s Samba Turns 100

25 December 2016

The very first samba song was recorded 100 years ago. The genre continues strong, with women artists breaking new ground.

Threatened Brazilian bird good news


This is a 2016 Araripe manakin video from Brazil.

From the Environment News Service:

Rare Brazilian Songbird Finds Refuge in a Dry Land

WASHINGTON, DC, December 19, 2016 (ENS) – The American Bird Conservancy and its Brazilian partner Aquasis have secured more than 170 acres of critical habitat to improve the chance for survival of one of the world’s rarest and most spectacular birds, the Araripe Manakin.

The land acquisition roughly doubles the size of the existing Araripe Oasis Reserve in north eastern Brazil and connects it to the larger Araripe National Forest, protecting what might become new breeding territories for the unique red-and-white bird and other rare species.

Discovered just 20 years ago, the Araripe Manakin has dwindled to a population of fewer than a thousand birds.

They depend on a unique type of forest found only at the base of the Araripe Plateau in Brazil, where encroaching human development – farming, cattle grazing, and home construction – has pushed the species to the brink of extinction.

In 2014, the American Bird Conservancy, ABC, helped Aquasis purchase 140 acres in a prime breeding area for the Araripe Manakin.

This year, ABC and Aquasis had the opportunity to acquire an adjacent property that includes springs, streams, and forests, all the elements required to support as many as eight new breeding territories for Araripe Manakin.

Alberto Campos, Aquasis co-founder and director of development said, “With this expansion, we can continue to secure the Oasis Reserve as an epicenter for forest habitat protection and restoration, the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the wise use of water resources along the slopes of the Araripe Plateau.”

The purchase was made possible by the support of the IUCN National Committee of The Netherlands, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Quick Response Biodiversity Fund, David Davidson, Larry Thompson, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and a number of other donors to ABC’s online campaign.

The Araripe Plateau lies at the heart of the vast, semi-arid, drought-stricken caatinga biome that dominates most of the landscape of northeastern Brazil. The demand for water is increasing as the region develops into an urban landscape.

The Oasis Reserve provides a life-giving source of water for the surrounding communities living in the caatinga shrublands.

The reserve is an essential refuge for other birds that depend on this habitat, such as the Silvery-cheeked Antshrike, the White-browed Antpitta, and the Caatinga Antshrike.

Another endemic species in the area, the Yellow-faced Siskin, will also benefit from the reserve expansion. This northeastern Brazilian bird, a favorite target of the pet trade, uses many kinds of habitat, including lowlands, mountains, forests, and open areas.

The Yellow-faced Siskin was quite common until the 1980s but it has declined in recent decades.

Expanding the reserve not only protects essential territory for the birds, it enables conservation actions that will boost their numbers.

“For many of these species closing in on the brink of extinction, we need to do more than just protect habitat,” said Bennett Hennessy, ABC’s Brazil Program Coordinator. “We need to understand the species’ limiting factors and actively manage habitat to increase the population. The Oasis Araripe Reserve has the in-depth research knowledge to apply habitat improvement techniques to increase the population of the Araripe Manakin on land the reserve owns.”

Managing water resources will be essential to that effort, because streams have been an important limiting factor in the recuperation of the Araripe Manakin,” explained Hennessy.

“The birds breed in understory vegetation that overhangs running water,” he said. “While this makes it harder for predators to reach the birds’ nests, it limits breeding sites in such a drought-prone area where springs and streams are rare.”

The reserve extension will allow Aquasis to better manage two vitally important springs in the area for the benefit of birds as well as people.

The southern spring will be managed to create two streams, which Aquasis will reforest with vegetation that offers ideal breeding habitat for the Araripe Manakin.

Aquasis will now be able to use the northernmost spring to create a stream route that traverses more of the forest area and offers more breeding territory for the birds.

With good stream management and revegetation, Aquasis predicts it will be able to provide habitat for 12 new nests in the northern part of the reserve, where the newly acquired land is located, and eight in the southern section, supporting breeding areas for as many as 20 pairs of Araripe Manakins.