Some of the background notes I’ve created for my universe. All this is subject to change.
• Vampires are identified, in current biological terminology as Therianthropos nocturnae, although as noted above there is some dissent as to whether or not therianthropes are indeed a separate genus or a collection of subspecies of humanity.
• Vampires, then, are defined as a species of shapeshifting optional hematophages/mesocarnivores that reproduce via a viral package that is created in specialized glands concealed in their upper jaw. Genetic evidence confirms that vampires are more closely related to other therianthropes, with lycanthropes being their closest relative, than they are to humans. However, due to the rapid speed with which vampire tissue degenerates whence cut off from the main blood supply, genetic evidence is hard to come by and there many gaps in the knowledge.
• Vampires are a species of therianthrope. Thus, they are apex predators who evolved to prey on humanity.
• Vampires are optional hematophages, meaning their primary source of food is blood, and that they supplement their diet with various other foods, mostly meat. However grain products, dairy, and some vegetables are also used.
o On that note, vampires are also mesocarnivorous: what nutrients they can’t get from blood, they pretty much have to get from meat with dairy a distant third and plant matter (grain products, vegetables, and nuts) a very distant fourth
On that note, vampires have no universal weakness to garlic. That said, the pungent smell and taste wreak havoc on a vampire’s senses and they prefer to avoid garlic whenever possible.
Also, food allergies are not unheard of amongst vampires, and are universally some form of plant.
o Because vampires are shapeshifters, their method of extracting blood from humans varies from vampire to vampire.
Eastern vampires, such as the White or Red Bloodlines tend to prefer a proboscis-like tongue, while Western vampires prefer hollow fangs.
• Vampire digestive systems are very efficient, extracting all the necessary nutrients from their meals without producing any waste.
• Vampires are unique in the animal kingdom in that they reproduce virally within another species, namely humans. No other animal species, not even within the therianthrope genus, does so.
• Vampires reproduce by injecting a virus that contains their DNA into a human host. The virus attacks the human’s immune system, central nervous system, circulatory and respiratory system and internal organs, converting them into a vampire’s version of those same systems.
o That being said, the new vampire is not a copy of the old one. Rather, the virus adapts to the new host, altering itself as it alters the human to become a totally new vampire. Thus, a newly turned vampire can be considered a child of the vampire that turned it and the human being it once was.
o During the turning process, the human dies. Hence, vampires are sometimes considered Undead and in ancient times have nicknamed themselves the Dead and the Damned.
• Vampires can also reproduce sexually, with either humans or other vampires, though this is rare.
o When vampires reproduce sexually with humans, the result is a dhampyr, a type of creature that is colloquially referred to as ‘half-vampire, half-human’, though the reality is a little more complicated than that.
o When vampires reproduce sexually with other vampires, the result is simply another vampire. Sometimes you might get a vampire that mixes the strength and weaknesses of different bloodlines, but that’s about it.