We report alopecic syndrome (hair loss in areas of the body, including chest, abdomen, and back) in four frugivorous bat species (Artibeus jamaicensis, Artibeus lituratus, Sturnira lilium, and Sturnira ludovici) within urban and periurban areas of Villahermosa, Tabasco, México, during 2007 and 2008. The overall prevalence of alopecic syndrome was 5.25% (135/2,567 bats). The highest prevalence was found in A. lituratus (5.6%; 62/1,105), followed by A. jamaicensis (5%; 3/ 1,462). We found a higher prevalence in the dry season, when more than 90% of the alopecic individuals (n=122) were captured. Higher prevalence of alopecia was recorded in urban areas (80% of captured alopecic bats, n=108) than in periurban areas (20%, n=27). Histopathologic studies revealed no evidence of infectious agents. The syndrome may be related to nutritional or endocrinal deficiencies. Spatial and seasonal aggregation in urban areas suggests that anthropogenic activities may interfere with nutritional processes. Further studies are needed to confirm the etiology of the syndrome as well as its impact on population dynamics. This is the first report of alopecic syndrome in sylvatic bats.
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Vol. 46 • No. 3