Real vampires have evolved unusual ways to survive on blood | Science News

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Being a vampire can be brutal. Here’s how bloodsuckers get by.

What’s most remarkable about real-life bloodsuckers doesn’t show up in movies

By
12:00pm, October 18, 2017
illustrations of vampires

VAMPS  Creatures that feast on blood have evolved surprising ways to deal with all that fluid and protein, and to get the nutrients blood doesn’t offer. 

Jennifer Zaspel can’t explain why she stuck her thumb in the vial with the moth. Just an after-dark, out-in-the-woods zing of curiosity.

She was catching moths on a July night in the Russian Far East and had just eased a Calyptra, with brownish forewings like a dried leaf, into a plastic collecting vial. Of the 17 or so largely tropical Calyptra species, eight were known vampires. Males will vary their fruit diet on occasion by driving their hardened, fruit-piercing mouthparts into mammals, such as cattle, tapirs and even elephants and humans, for a drink of fresh blood.

Zaspel, however, thought she was outside the territory where she might encounter a vampire species. She had caught C. thalictri, widely known from Switzerland and France eastward into Japan as a strict fruitarian.

Before capping the vial with the moth, “I just for no good reason stuck my thumb in there to see what it would do,” Zaspel says. “It

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