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Mammals (other)
Cutaneous vitiligo associated with hypovitaminosis D in Malayan flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus) and Island flying foxes (Pteropus hypomelanus)
  1. Elizabeth Stringer1,
  2. Sushan Han2 and
  3. R Scott Larsen1
  1. 1Denver Zoo, Denver, Colorado, USA
  2. 2Department of Microbiology, Diagnostic Medicine Center, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Stringer, bstringer{at}


Eight Malayan flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus) and three Island flying foxes (Pteropus hypomelanus) presented for varying degrees of skin depigmentation of the wing membranes, face and feet. Lesions were observed six months after bats were placed in a newly constructed indoor-only exhibit. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D) concentrations were low relative to concentrations from bats at another zoological institution. Skin biopsies indicated segmental loss of melanin pigment within the epidermis; skin scrapes and culture results were negative for infectious agents. A diagnosis of cutaneous vitiligo was made. All bats were removed from the exhibit and housed in an off-exhibit holding area that contained UV-B lights. Bats were regularly seen basking and slow repigmentation was noted over several months. Four months after initial presentation, serum 25-OH-D concentrations were significantly higher than original concentrations. Based on these results, these two species of diurnal bat should have access to UV-B light.

  • Flying fox
  • Pteropus hypomelanus
  • Pteropus vampyrus
  • ultraviolet light
  • Vitamin D
  • vitiligo
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