Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 4, 2013

New records of pigmentation disorders in molossid and phyllostomid (Chiroptera) bats from Peru

  • Carlos Tello EMAIL logo , Daniel G. Streicker , Jorge Gomez and Paúl M. Velazco
From the journal Mammalia


Pigmentation disorders, either from the complete absence (albinism), partial (leucism), or excess (melanism) of melanin, are rare in vertebrates. Worldwide, only a few records of these disorders had been reported for bats. Thanks to recent fieldwork and examination of museum specimens of the collections of the AMNH and MUSM, we report five species with those conditions in Peru. In this study, we report the first cases of leucism in Artibeus anderseni, Chiroderma trinitatum, and Desmodus rotundus and partial melanism in Carollia perspicillata. Additionally, we report the first record of an albino bat (Molossus molossus) for Peru.

Corresponding author: Carlos Tello, Programa de Investigación, Yunkawasi, Av. Mariscal Castilla 582, Lima 33, Perú; and Programa de Conservación de Murciélagos del Perú, Lima, Peru, e-mail:


We thank all the participants of the “International Bat Course 2012” organized by CEBIO. Special thanks are for the course organizer, Erika Paliza. The following curators and collection staff graciously provided access to the specimens under their care: Nancy B. Simmons and Eileen Westwig, AMNH; Erika Paliza, CEBIO; and Víctor Pacheco, MUSM. We are grateful to Marco Tschapka for the live photographs of the albino Molossus molossus and Kerry Kline and two anonymous reviewers for reading and improving early versions of this report. Funding for this project was provided to PMV by the Gerstner and Roosevelt postdoctoral fellowships at the American Museum of Natural History, by NSF grant DEB 0949859 to Nancy B. Simmons, National Geographic Grant CRE-4-17-07 to DGS and NSF grant DEB-1020966 to Sonia Altizer and Pejman Rohani.


Acosta, L.H., M. Saldías and L.A. Nuñez. 2011. Historia natural del murciélago de hojas largas (Micronycteris microtis, Miller 1898), en la serranía de Incahuasi, Santa Cruz-Bolivia. Kempffiana 7: 19–33.Search in Google Scholar

Alarcos, G., M.E. Ortiz, M.J. Fernández, M. Lizana and J. Madrigal. 2006. Un caso de albinismo de rana ibérica en Sanabria (Zamora). Bol. Asoc. Herpetol. Esp. 17: 44–45.Search in Google Scholar

Alcalde, J.T. 2009. Myotis alcathoe Helversen & Heller, 2001 y Pipistrellus pygmaeus (Leach, 1825), nuevas especies de quirópteros para Navarra. Munibe 57: 225–236.Search in Google Scholar

Anderson, S. 1997. Mammals of Bolivia, taxonomy and distribution. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 231: 1–652.Search in Google Scholar

Aul, B. and G. Marimuthu. 2006. Sighting of an albino bat in a colony of cave-dwelling microchiropteran, Hipposideros diadema nicobarensis at the Nicobar Islands. Curr. Sci. 90: 912–914.Search in Google Scholar

Barquez, R.M., M.A. Mares and J.K. Braun. 1999. The bats of Argentina. Spec. Publ. Mus. Texas Tech Univ. 42: 1–275.10.5962/bhl.title.142628Search in Google Scholar

Barquez, R.M., L.V. Carrizo, L.I. Ferro, D.A. Flores, M.I. Mollerach, M.S. Sánchez and A.P. García López. 2003. Primer caso de albinismo total para Sturnira erythromos (Tschudi, 1844)(Chiroptera-Phyllostomidae). Chiropt. Neotrop. 9: 166–169.Search in Google Scholar

Bensch, S., B. Hansson, D. Hasselquist and B. Nielsen. 2000. Partial albinism in a semi-isolated population of great reed warblers. Hereditas 133: 167–170.10.1111/j.1601-5223.2000.t01-1-00167.xSearch in Google Scholar PubMed

Boada, C. and D.G. Tirira. 2010. First record of partial albinism (leucism) in Carollia perspicillata (Phyllostomidae) in Ecuador. Chiropt. Neotrop. 16: 755–757.Search in Google Scholar

Bowman, J. and R.M. Curran. 2000. Partial albinism in a red-backed vole, Clethrionomys gapperi, from New Brunswick. Northeast. Nat. 7: 181–182.Search in Google Scholar

Buchanan, G.D. 1985. Comments on frequency of melanism in Myotis lucifugus. J. Mammal. 66: 178.10.2307/1380979Search in Google Scholar

Buys, J., H. Heijligers and M. Dorenbosch. 2002. First record of an albino long-eared bat Plecotus auritus in Netherlands. Lutra 45: 49–52.Search in Google Scholar

Caire, W. and M. Thies. 1988. Notes on the occurrence of morphological and color aberrations in bats from Oklahoma, Missouri, and Mexico. Proc. Oklahoma Acad. Sci. 68: 75–76.Search in Google Scholar

Charles-Dominique, P., A. Brosset and S. Jouard. 2001. Les chauves-souris de Guyane. Patrim. Nat. 49: 1–172.Search in Google Scholar

Díaz, M.M. and V.H. Linares. 2012. Refugios naturales y artificiales de Murciélagos (Mammalia: Chiroptera) en la selva baja en el Noroeste de Perú. Gayana 76: 117–130.10.4067/S0717-65382012000300005Search in Google Scholar

Edgren, R.A. 1957. Melanism in hog-nosed snakes. Herpetologica 13: 131–135.Search in Google Scholar

Fabian, M.E. and R. Gregorin. 2007. Familia Molossidae. In: (N.R. Reis, A.L. Peracchi, W.A. Pedro and I.P. Lima, eds.) Morcegos do Brasil. Universidad Federal de Londrina, Londrina, Brazil. pp. 149–165.Search in Google Scholar

Freeman, P.W. 1981. A multivariate study of the family Molossidae (Mammalia, Chiroptera): morphology, ecology, evolution. Field. Zool. N. Ser. 7: 1–173.10.5962/bhl.title.3128Search in Google Scholar

García-Morales, R., E.J. Gordillo-Chávez and J. Bello-Gutiérrez. 2010. Primer registro de albinismo en Glossophaga soricina (Phyllostomidae) en México. Chiropt. Neotrop. 16: 743–747.Search in Google Scholar

García-Morales, R., D. Tejada, E.S. Ávila, C. Moreno and M.S. Akmentis. 2012. Registro de leucismo en Sturnira ludovici y Artibeus jamaicensis. Chiropt. Neotrop. 18: 1101–1105.Search in Google Scholar

Geiger, D. and S.M. Pacheco. 2006. Registro de albinismo parcial em Nyctinomops laticaudatus (E. Geoffroy, 1805) (Chiroptera: Molossidae) no Sul do Brasil. Chiropt. Neotrop. 12: 250–254.Search in Google Scholar

Genoways, H.H., R.J. Baker, J.W. Bickham and C.J. Phillips. 2005. Bats of Jamaica. Spec. Publ. Mus. Texas Tech Univ. 48: 1–15410.5962/bhl.title.142604Search in Google Scholar

Greenhall, A.M., G. Joermann and U. Schmidt. 1983. Desmodus rotundus. Mammal. Spec. 202: 1–6.10.2307/3503895Search in Google Scholar

Griffiths, A.J.F., J.H. Miller, D.T. Suzuki, R.C. Lewontin and W.M. Gelbart. 2000. An introduction to genetic analysis. W.H. Freeman and Company Press, New York, NJ. pp. 860.Search in Google Scholar

Haedo, J.A. and J.G. Esteban. 1972. Albinismo en aves y mamíferos argentinos. Acta Zool. Lilloana 29: 343–366.Search in Google Scholar

Heatwole, H., J.F. Arroyo-Salamán and G. Hernández. 1964. Albinism in the bat, Molossus fortis. J. Mammal. 45: 117–119.Search in Google Scholar

Hernández-Mijangos, L.A. 2009. Registros de albinismo parcial en tres especies de murciélagos filostómidos (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) en Chiapas, México. Chiropt. Neotrop. 15: 441–445.Search in Google Scholar

Idoeta, F., L.J.M. De Santis and R.M. Barquez. 2011. Leucismo en Eptesicus furinalis (d’Orbigny y Gervais, 1847) (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) en la provincia de Corrientes, Argentina. Chiropt. Neotrop. 17: 985–988.Search in Google Scholar

Jehl, J.R. 1985. Leucism in eared grebes in western North America. Condor 87: 439–441.10.2307/1367236Search in Google Scholar

Kettlewell, B. 1973. The evolution of melanism: a study of recurring necessity; with special reference to industrial melanism in the Lepidoptera. Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK. pp. 423.Search in Google Scholar

Kingsley, E.P., M. Manceau, C.D. Wiley and H.E. Hoekstra. 2009. Melanism in Peromyscus is caused by independent mutations in Agouti. Plos One 4: e6435.10.1371/journal.pone.0006435Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

Leblanc, F. and F. Taupin. 2005. Découverte d’un jeune Grand murin (Myotis myotis) albinos en Corrèze (19) (France): essai de synthèse sur les cas d’albinisme des Chiroptères en Europe. Rhinolophe 17: 23–27.Search in Google Scholar

Linares, O.J. 1967. Albinism in the long-tongued bat, Anoura caudifera. J. Mammal. 48: 464–465.Search in Google Scholar

López-Wilchis, R. and M.A. León. 2012. A noteworthy case of leucism in Artibeus lituratus (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) from Oaxaca, Mexico. Chiropt. Neotrop. 18: 1111–1114.Search in Google Scholar

Majerus, M.E.N. 1998. Melanism: evolution in action. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. pp. 338.Search in Google Scholar

Majerus, M.E.N. and N.I. Mundy. 2003. Mammalian melanism: natural selection in black and white. Trends Genet. 19: 585–588.10.1016/j.tig.2003.09.003Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Marin-Vasquez, A., M. Ortega-Rincón and H.E. Ramírez-Chaves. 2010. Records of leucism in three species of Colombian bats: Carollia brevicauda, Artibeus jamaicensis and Lophostoma silvicolum (Phyllostomidae). Chiropt. Neotrop. 16: 706–709.Search in Google Scholar

Medina, C. and E. López. 2010. Primer registro de Leucismo en Sturnira lilium (Phyllostomidae) en el sureste del Perú. Chiropt. Neotrop. 16: 758–761.Search in Google Scholar

Miller, J.D. 2005. All about albinism. Missouri Conserv. 66: 5–7.Search in Google Scholar

Moreira, E.C., M.C.P. Silva and J.G. Veloso. 1992. Albinismo em Desmodus rotundus rotundus, Quiroptera (E. Geofroy, 1810). Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec. 44: 549–552.Search in Google Scholar

Oliveira, S.V. 2009. Albinismo parcial em cutia Dasyprocta azarae (Lichtenstein, 1823) (Rodentia, Dasyproctidae), no sul do Brasil. Biotemas 22: 243–246.Search in Google Scholar

Oliveira, H.F.M. and L.M.S. Aguiar. 2008. A new case of complete albinism in a bat from Brazil. Chiropt. Neotrop. 14: 421–423.Search in Google Scholar

Ortêncio Filho, H.O., I.P. Lima and F.N.O. Fogaça. 2007. Subfamilia Carolliinae. In: (N.R. Reis, A.L. Peracchi, W.A. Pedro and I.P. Lima, eds.) Morcegos do Brasil. Universidad Federal de Londrina, Londrina, Brazil. pp. 99–105.Search in Google Scholar

Osgood, W.H. 1916. Mammals of the Collins-Day South American Expedition. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. Ser.10: 199–216.10.5962/bhl.title.2632Search in Google Scholar

Osgood, F.L. 1936. Melanistic pipistrelles. J. Mammal. 17: 64.10.1093/jmammal/17.1.64Search in Google Scholar

Quay, W.B. 1970. Integument and derivatives. In: (W.A. Wimsatt, ed.) Biology of bats: vol. II. Academic Press, New York, NJ. pp. 1–56.Search in Google Scholar

Ramírez, O.E. and M. Arana. 2005. Albinism in the Andean leaf-eared mouse, Phyllotis andium (Rodentia, Cricetidae). Mastozool. Neotrop. 12: 269–270.Search in Google Scholar

Ramírez, N.N., O.R. Bottinelli, R.M. Ruiz and R.S. Bastos. 2010. Registro del primer caso de albinismo completo en Desmodus rotundus en Argentina. Rev. Vet. 21: 63–65.10.30972/vet.2111871Search in Google Scholar

Rodrigues, F.H., G. Silveira, L.T.A. Jácomo and E.L.A. Monteiro-Filho. 1999. Um albino parcial de veado campeiro (Ozotoceros bezoarticus, Linnaeus) no Parque nacional das Emas, Goiás. Rev. Bras. Zool. 16: 1229–1232.10.1590/S0101-81751999000400032Search in Google Scholar

Roncancio, N. and H.E. Ramírez-Chaves. 2008. Registro de leucismo en Sturnira erythromos en los Andes centrales de Colombia. Chiropt. Neotrop. 14: 412–414.Search in Google Scholar

Sánchez, H.C., C.W. López-Forment and H.M.A. Gurrola. 1989. Unusual coloration in three Mexican bats. Bat Res. News 30: 54–55.Search in Google Scholar

Sánchez-Hernández, C., M. Romero-Almaraz, A. Taboada-Salgado, A. Almazán-Catalán, G.D. Schnell and L. Sánchez-Vásquez. 2010. Five albino bats from Guerrero and Colima, Mexico. Chiropt. Neotrop. 16: 541–545.Search in Google Scholar

Sánchez-Hernández, C., A. Rojas-Martínez, J.C. López-Vidal, C. Elizalde-Arellano, M. Romero-Almaraz, M. Aguilar-López and A. Taboada-Salgado. 2012. Leucism in five species of bats from Mexico. Chiropt. Neotrop. 18: 1123–1127.Search in Google Scholar

Setzer, H.W. 1950. Albinism in bats. J. Mammal. 31: 350.10.1093/jmammal/31.3.350-aSearch in Google Scholar

Simmons, N.B. and R.S. Voss. 1998. The mammals of Paracou, French Guiana: a Neotropical lowland rainforest fauna. Part 1. Bats. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 237: 1–219.Search in Google Scholar

Smith, H.C. 1968. Albinism in the bent-winged bat Miniopterus schreiberssi (Kuhl). Vict. Nat. 85: 358–359.Search in Google Scholar

Sodre, M.M., W. Uieda and M. Baldim. 2004. First record of albinism in the bat Eumops glaucinus (Molossidae) from southeastern Brazil. Chiropt. Neotrop. 10: 200–201.Search in Google Scholar

Swanepoel, P. and H.H. Genoways. 1979. Morphometrics. In: (R.J. Baker, J.K. Jones Jr. and D.C. Carter, eds.) Biology of bats of the New World family Phyllostomatidae. Part III. Spec. Publ. Mus. Texas Tech Univ. 16: 13–106.Search in Google Scholar

Tedesco, M.E., J.A. Céspedez and B.B. Álvarez. 2005. Albinismo en Cercosaura schreibersii (Wiegmann, 1834) en el nordeste argentino (Sauria: Gymnophtalmidae). Bol. Asoc. Herpetol. Esp. 16: 30–32.Search in Google Scholar

Teixeira, S.F. and M.L.G. Araújo. 2002. First record of albinism in the smooth dogfish Mustelus schimitti Springer, 1939 (Carcharhiniformes-Triakidae) from southern Brazil. Braz. Arch. Biol. Technol. 45: 241–243.Search in Google Scholar

Tizón, F.R., M.A. Carrizo and P.A. Seewald. 2008. Registro de albinismo imperfecto del pecho colorado grande (Sturnella loyca). BioScriba 1: 27–29.Search in Google Scholar

Tortato, F.R. and S.L. Althoff. 2007. Variações na coloração de iraras (Eira barbara Linnaeus, 1758-Carnivora, Mustelidae) da Reserva Biológica Estadual do Sassafrás, Santa Catarina, sul do Brasil. Biota Neotrop. 7: 365–367.10.1590/S1676-06032007000300038Search in Google Scholar

Trapido, H. and P.E. Crowe. 1942. Color abnormalities in three genera of northeastern cave bats. J. Mammal. 23: 303–305.10.2307/1374999Search in Google Scholar

Uieda, W. 2000. A review of complete albinism in bats with five new cases from Brazil. Acta Chiropterol. 2: 97–105.Search in Google Scholar

Ulmer, F.A. Jr. 1941. Melanism in the Felidae, with special reference to the genus Lynx. J. Mammal. 22: 285–288.Search in Google Scholar

Veiga, L.A. 1994. Um caso de albinismo em Tayassu tajacu Linnaeus (Artiodactyla, Tayassuidae) na Serra Do Mar, São José Dos Pinhais, Paraná. Rev. Bras. Zool. 11: 341–343.10.1590/S0101-81751994000200019Search in Google Scholar

Veiga, L.A. and A.T.D. Oliveira. 1995. A case of true albinism in the bat Molossus molossus, Pallas (Chiroptera, Molossidae) in Santa Vitoria do Palmar, RS, Brazil. Arq. Biol. Tecnol. 38: 879–881.Search in Google Scholar

Zortéa, M. 2007. Subfamília Phyllostomidae. In: (N.R. Reis, A.L. Peracchi, W.A. Pedro and I.P. Lima, eds.) Morcegos do Brasil. Universidad Federal de Londrina, Londrina, Brazil. pp. 107–128.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2013-2-4
Accepted: 2013-7-31
Published Online: 2013-9-4
Published in Print: 2014-5-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 24.2.2024 from
Scroll to top button