White noses hit PA brown bats

A deadly fungus has reached winged mammals in Pennsylvania

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Jan 28, 2009
Biologists have confirmed that bats in Pennsylvania are infected with a mysterious syndrome that has already killed thousands of bats throughout the Northeast over the past two years. White Nose Syndrome (WNS), so called for the presence of a pale, powdery fungus on the muzzles of infected bats, has hit New York and Vermont bat populations hardest, and it seems to be continuing its march west. The pathology of White Nose Syndrome remains largely unexplained, but infected bats appear to starve to death after exhibiting non-typical behavior, such as flying during the daytime. Some biologists suggest that the fungus is merely a secondary infection that targets the already weakened immune systems of sick bats.
Little brown bats with white noses
Researchers had suspected that the disease was gaining a foothold in Pennsylvania, and confirmation came last week from National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin. linkurl:DeeAnn Reeder,;http://www.bucknell.edu/x17990.xml a comparative ecophysiologist...



Photo courtesy of New York Department of Environmental Conservation

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