Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Montana Bats ~ Brief quote/intro to Whitenose syndrome (Geomyces destructans)


Called “the most precipitous wildlife decline in the past century in North America,” White-nose Syndrome has killed more than 5.7 million bats since its discovery in 2006. Seven bat species in 22 U.S. states and 5 Canadian provinces have now been documented with WNS.

The cold-loving white Geomyces destructans fungus (pictured below) that causes White-nose Syndrome is typically found on the faces and wings of infected bats. The fungus causes bats to awaken more often during hibernation and use up the stored fat reserves that are needed to get them through the winter.

Photo: The Effects of Geomyces Destructans Infection on Bat Wings

Back-lit photographs of wings of White-nose Syndrome (WNS)-positive little brown bats, one with subtle circular and irregular pale areas (arrows) indicating areas of fungal infection (A) and another bat (B) with areas of relatively normal tone and elasticity (black arrow), compared to a WNS affected area that looks like crumpled tissue paper with loss of elasticity, surface sheen and areas of irregular pigmentation (white arrow). (C) Microscopic section of wing membrane from a little brown bat showing extensive infection with the fungus (magenta structures), G. destructans.

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Department of the Interior/USGS
U.S. Geological Survey/photo by Carol Uphoff Meteyer

Visit Bat Conservation International for more information (and other resources to follow).