Greetings from Costa Rica! Two nights of sampling and 56 bats in, I’m off to a great, if slightly overwhelming start to my field season. I am catching bats in this region to determine how land use and host ecology affect parasite and infection prevalence in Neotropical bats. Most of the bats we catch belong to the ecologically diverse family Phyllostomidae. Included in this family are (1) nectarivorous bats, like the orange bat, Lonchophylla robusta, (2) frugivorous bats, like the fig specialist, Artibeus jamaicensis, (3) carnivorous bats, like the very large Phyllostomus hastatus, (4) insectivorous bats, like the adorably big eared Micronycteris hirsuta, and even (5) the infamous vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus. This presents an excellent study system in which to examine the effect of ecological differences on disease dynamics and immunogenetic evolution. In particular I’m excited because we have caught 5 Micronycteris, more than all of last field season!
More stories and photos to come, but for now, I prove that there’s no reason jungle style and lab style can’t mix.