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

Carlos Tello 1 , Daniel G. Streicker 2 , Jorge Gomez 3  and Paúl M. Velazco 4
  • 1 Programa de Investigación, Yunkawasi, Av. Mariscal Castilla 582, Lima 33, Perú; and Programa de Conservación de Murciélagos del Perú, Lima, Peru
  • 2 Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
  • 3 Dirección General de Epidemiología, Ministerio de Salud, Lima, Peru
  • 4 Department of Mammalogy, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024, USA
Carlos Tello, Daniel G. Streicker, Jorge Gomez and Paúl M. Velazco


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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • Barquez, R.M., M.A. Mares and J.K. Braun. 1999. The bats of Argentina. Spec. Publ. Mus. Texas Tech Univ. 42: 1–275.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • Buchanan, G.D. 1985. Comments on frequency of melanism in Myotis lucifugus. J. Mammal. 66: 178.

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • Freeman, P.W. 1981. A multivariate study of the family Molossidae (Mammalia, Chiroptera): morphology, ecology, evolution. Field. Zool. N. Ser. 7: 1–173.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Genoways, H.H., R.J. Baker, J.W. Bickham and C.J. Phillips. 2005. Bats of Jamaica. Spec. Publ. Mus. Texas Tech Univ. 48: 1–154

  • Greenhall, A.M., G. Joermann and U. Schmidt. 1983. Desmodus rotundus. Mammal. Spec. 202: 1–6.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Jehl, J.R. 1985. Leucism in eared grebes in western North America. Condor 87: 439–441.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

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

  • Majerus, M.E.N. and N.I. Mundy. 2003. Mammalian melanism: natural selection in black and white. Trends Genet. 19: 585–588.

  • 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.

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

  • Miller, J.D. 2005. All about albinism. Missouri Conserv. 66: 5–7.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Osgood, W.H. 1916. Mammals of the Collins-Day South American Expedition. Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Zool. Ser.10: 199–216.

  • Osgood, F.L. 1936. Melanistic pipistrelles. J. Mammal. 17: 64.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Setzer, H.W. 1950. Albinism in bats. J. Mammal. 31: 350.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Trapido, H. and P.E. Crowe. 1942. Color abnormalities in three genera of northeastern cave bats. J. Mammal. 23: 303–305.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.

Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

Mammalia is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the inventory, analysis and interpretation of Mammalian diversity. It publishes original results on all aspects of systematics (comparative, functional and evolutionary morphology; morphometrics; phylogeny; biogeography; taxonomy and nomenclature), biology, ecology and conservation of mammals.