Phyllostomid bats are currently distributed from the southwestern United States and the West Indies south to northern Argentina and central Chile. Two subfamilies (Phyllonyc-terinae and Brachyphyllinae) are restricted to the West Indies, which generally lack members of the Phyllostominae and Carolliinae. Lonchophyllinae and Desmodontinae are absent from the West Indies, although the common vampire, Desmodus rotundus (Desmodontinae), is known as a fossil from Cuba. In the late Pleistocene, vampire bats had a much broader distribution and occurred across the southern United States. Highest diversities of phyllostomid bats, in terms of number of subfamilies and species, occur in the lowland rainforests of northwestern South America and adjacent Central America. Phyllostomid diversity declines with altitude, latitude, and increasing aridity.

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