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Thursday, 2 December 2010

New fungi killing American bats

I spotted this on a blog, let's hope our bats are immune.

"A new fungus has been discovered in the States that is killing hundreds of thousands of bats, particulary the little browns ( myotis lucifugus) whos hibernation preferences are also ideal for the fungi known as Geomyces destructans.It has also been found in europe but does not seem to result in the symptoms that are killing the bats populations of america.They are calling it WNS (white nose syndrone) as it results in a white patchy growth on the noses of the bats. This is a massive issue for the bats who appear to be woken by the the irritating infection where they lose fat reserves from a break in thier hibernation cycle, valuable fat needed to survive the winter, that they cant replace."



Bruce said...

I wonder why it isn't affecting Europe's population as bad, or is the fungus species specific?

Philip said...

Hi Bruce,
A million bats have died in the US in last 3 years. It seems the fungus has been known in Europe for decades but not described. The theory is the spores were taken to America by cavers. Maybe european bats have developed immunity. See this link http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/88/8846sci1.html

Calderdale Wildlife said...

Interesting article Philip,
I have not heard of this problem before. It looks like several factors may be to blame, personally I would suspect lack of immunity - but I'm no scientist.
I hope that something such as the tests with spearmint oil provides simple stopgap and perhaps some bats may become immune and pass that on to their offspring. With one pup a year this is a major problem.