Bats endangered Aug 9, 2010 19:30:50 GMT
Post by bixaorellana on Aug 9, 2010 19:30:50 GMT
The arrows point to unusual white noses in a cluster of bats in a New York cave during the winter in 2006. The white is apparently caused by a fungus and may be related to an unusual number of bat deaths. Read below for more information source
The photo illustrates White Nose Syndrome, which appears to be spreading westward. In 2009, a bat in France was also diagnosed with WNS.
Researchers are saying that if the spread continues the way it has in the past four years, the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) may vanish in sixteen to twenty years.
Bats like M. lucifugus — and the eight other species in which WNS has now been found — are crucial to cave ecosystems, which rely on nutrients captured on the wing and delivered in bat droppings. Of more utilitarian importance to people, cave-dwelling eat vast amounts of crop-infesting insects. ...
We can expect economic and ecological consequences. ...
In 2006, before the WNS outbreak, ... a study [was published] estimating the economic value of insect-eating bats in an eight-county region of southwest Texas at about $1 million in pesticide costs alone. source
What is white-nose syndrome?
In February 2006 some 40 miles west of Albany, N.Y., a caver photographed hibernating bats with an unusual white substance on their muzzles. He noticed several dead bats. The following winter, bats behaving erratically, bats with white noses, and a few hundred dead bats in several caves came to the attention of New York Department of Environmental Conservation biologists, who documented white-nose syndrome in January 2007. More than a million hibernating bats have died since. Biologists with state and federal agencies and organizations across the country are still trying to find the answer to this deadly mystery.
We have found sick, dying and dead bats in unprecedented numbers in and around caves and mines from New Hampshire to Tennessee. In some hibernacula, 90 to 100 percent of the bats are dying.
While they are in the hibernacula, affected bats often have white fungus on their muzzles and other parts of their bodies. They may have low body fat. These bats often move to cold parts of the hibernacula, fly during the day and during cold winter weather when the insects they feed upon are not available, and exhibit other uncharacteristic behavior.
Despite the continuing search to find the source of this condition by numerous laboratories and state and federal biologists, the cause of the bat deaths remains unknown. A newly discovered cold-loving fungus, Geomyces destructans, invades the skin of bats. Scientists are exploring how the fungus acts and searching for a way to stop it. source