VAMPIRE-BAT, a genus of blood-suck ing bats, of the carnivorous family Phyllosto momidee, distinguished by leaf-like nasal appen dages, three joints to the middle finger and often well-developed median incisors. They in habit South and Central America. Owing to the inaccuracy of travelers' accounts, which have ascribed blood-sucking habits to a large fruit-eating species, the effect of their attacks has been much exaggerated. The true sangui nivorous vampire bat is now known to be a small species not more than three inches in length and distinguished by its trenchant and enlarged upper incisor and canine teeth, capable of slicing the skin like a razor ; the very much reduced molar teeth; and the extremely narrow lumen of the alimentary canal and especially of the msophagus, all peculiarities which adapt it to an exclusive diet of blood. This is Desmo dus rufus, and a second closely related bat is Diphylla ecaudata. The former is abundant in wooded regions from southern Mexico to Chile; the latter occurs in Brazil. Bates and Wallace were themselves bitten by bats during their famous Amazon journey, and other travelers have confirmed the evidence of these naturalists.
Owing to the error above referred to the large bat mentioned is still often called the vampire, and as Vampyrus the name has become permanently fixed to it in scientific nomencla ture. The common species (V. spectrum) in habits Brazil, and is about six or seven inches in length; but the spread of the wing-membrane may measure over two feet. The body is cov
ered with a light brown hair. Consult Beddard,
VAN, van, Turkey in Asia, (1) A town, the capital of a vilayet of the same name, 145 miles southeast of Erzerum, close to the east shore of Lake Van. It stands on an extensive plain covered with beautiful gardens and orchards; overlboking it is the citadel, in a ruinous condi tion, crowning a lofty calcareous height. Ro man Catholic and American Protestant missions are maintained here. Cotton cloth is the only staple article, both of t manufacture and export.
I Van succeeded the Ivan of Cedrenus and the Byana of Ptolemy, and the vicinity is rich in archaeological remains. Armenian massacres occurred here in 1895 and 1896. It was occu pied by the Russians in 1915. Pop. of the town, about 35,000, Mohammedans slightly prepon derating over Armenian Christians. Pop. of the vilayet (1915) 379,800; area, 15,170 square miles. Petroleum is found, and there are un developed mineral resources believed to he con siderable. (2) Lake Van, situated at a height of about 5,300 feet above sea-level, is of irreg ular shape, contains many islands and has an area variously estimated at from 1,200 to 1,500 square miles. Its water is salt, but becomes brackish near the mouths of the streams. It has no visible outlet. A small herring-like fish is caught in its waters, salted and exported to Asia Minor.