Bats May Be Wiped Out by Fungus in U.S. Northeast
"Distressing" disease spreading throughout U.S. and Canada, expert says.
White-nose syndrome, first found in 2007 in a New York cave, is named for the white, cold-loving fungus that appears on afflicted bats' noses, wings, and ears.
The condition makes bats restless and disturbs their winter hibernation. Instead of sleeping peacefully, infected bats burn up their fat reserves, causing them to die at a staggering rate—almost 75 percent a year in affected colonies, research shows.
So far the syndrome is known to infect nine hibernating bat species, including the widespread and well-studied little brown bat. (Listen to bat calls.)
Biologist Winifred Frick and colleagues collected bat population data gathered over the past three