Data for Carter & Leffer. Social grooming in bats: are vampire bats exceptional? PLOS One.
All bats were cared for by the Organization for Bat Conservation at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (under permits: USDA 34-C-0117; US Fish and Wildlife Service MB003342-0), housed in flight cages that allowed free association, and kept at 25-28 degrees Celsius with >33% humidity on a half-reversed 12 h light/dim light cycle. Sex could be assigned because male Artibeus, Carollia, Eidolon, and Rousettus were housed together, while females and some castrated males (see below) of these species were housed together in a different cage. All Desmodus were housed together, but sex could be assigned with certainty because sexes tended to segregate (into female groups with a dominant male and satellite male groups) and bats were individually marked. In all species, we only observed interactions between adult bats. To compare social grooming and other behaviors across species, we conducted randomized focal sampling. We took instantaneous (“on the beep”) focal samples of a randomly chosen bat. For Artibeus, Desmodus, and Carollia, we obtained 13 samples from both males and females (see Table 1 for numbers of bats). For the other two species, we sampled 13 males and 13 bats that could have been either female (Eidolon n=6, Rousettus n=9) or a castrated male (Eidolon n=2, Rousettus n=2). We refer to this category of female and castrated males as “no testes” bats. Observers chose a focal bat randomly by counting bats left to right until a specific random number was reached. If a focal bat was asleep or became lost from view, the observer immediately began focal sampling the next closest conspecific in the same sex category. During each of 26 focal sampling sessions, observers took one observation every 10 s for 10 min. During each observation, observers reported the presence or absence of social grooming (chewing or licking another bat’s body), self-grooming (scratching or licking its own body), feeding, and aggression. Observers also switched to a different species and sex after each observation, there was no reason to expect biased sampling of sexes or species.