Bacterial microbiota of the ocular surface of captive and free-ranging microbats:Desmodus rotundus, Diameus youngiandArtibeus lituratus

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To investigate normal aerobic bacterial microbiota of the eye surface in vvcaptive and free-ranging bats belonging to the suborder Microchiroptera.

Animals studied

A total of 36 bats belonging to three different species (Desmodus rotundus, Diameus youngi, and Artibeus lituratus) were used to perform this investigation. Thirteen Diameus youngi and six Desmodus rotundus were trapped in a cave, and 17 captive Artibeus lituratus were obtained from an experimental colony. Both free-ranging and captive bats were free of apparent ocular or systemic disease.


Corneal and conjunctival swabs were collected from both eyes to identify the resident bacterial microbiota.


Seventeen bats had positive bacterial cultures in one or both eyes. Considering all isolates, Gram-positive bacteria (82.6%) predominated over those that were Gram-negative bacteria (17.4%). Coagulase-negative staphylococci (30.4%) were the most isolated genus, followed by Bacillus spp. (26%) and Corynebacterium spp. (21%). Only four Gram-negative species were isolated: Shigella spp., Hafnia alvei, Morganella morganii, and Flavobacterium odoratum.


In this study, bacterial microbiota of the ocular surface of bats was described, and Staphylococcus spp. were the most frequently isolated type of microorganism from healthy bat eyes.

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