By Jennifer Viegas:
Bat, Bee, Frog Deaths May Be Linked
Why has disease been killing off bats, bees and frogs? Shared factors may link the deaths.
Fri Jun 1, 2012 08:00 AM ET
Habitat loss, climate change and pesticide use may be putting bats, bees and frogs at greater risk for diseases.
Fungal diseases affecting bats and frogs eat through their skin, sometimes even replacing it.
Conservationists are trying to create safe, man-made habitats for the animals.
In recent years, diseases have ravaged through bat, honeybee and amphibian populations, and now animal experts suspect that shared factors may link the deaths, which are putting many species at risk for extinction.
The latest setback affects bats, given this week’s announcement that the deadly fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in already endangered gray bats. The illness, caused by the fungus Geomyces destructans, has mortality rates reaching up to 100 percent at some sites.
“It appears that many species are under an immense amount of stress, allowing opportunistic diseases to take hold,” Rob Mies, executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, told Discovery News. “Life is far more complex, so a single cause is likely not the only explanation for the bat, bee and frog deaths. There could be five, six or more factors involved.”
May 2012. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome in federally listed endangered gray bats (Myotis grisecens) in Hawkins and Montgomery counties in Tennessee. White-nose syndrome (WNS) has decimated bat populations across eastern North America, with mortality rates reaching up to 100 percent at some sites. First documented in New York in 2006, the disease has spread into 19 states and four Canadian provinces. Bats with WNS may exhibit unusual behaviour during cold winter months, including flying outside during the day and clustering near the entrances of caves and mines where they hibernate. Bats have been found sick and dying in unprecedented numbers near these hibernacula: here.
October 2012. New findings on white-nose syndrome (WNS) are bringing scientists closer to slowing the spread of this deadly bat disease, according to recent and ongoing studies by the U.S. Geological Survey: here.
The fungus that is known to cause a disease called white-nose syndrome in hibernating bats has recently been discovered for the first time in Mississippi: here.
A parasitic mite has helped a virus wipe out billions of honeybees throughout the globe, say scientists: here.
- Effort to keep deadly bat fungus out of Black Hills ratchets up (rapidcityjournal.com)
- White noses on these bats can signal danger for Ontario (thestar.com)
- Research on stricken bats may help Aids fight (independent.co.uk)
- Bat Die-Off Offers Clues in AIDS Fight (newser.com)
- Bats – Not Just for Halloween (ecology.com)
- Immune disease an added blow to fungus-ridden bat populations (sciencenews.org)
- What bats might be able to teach us about AIDS [Life Lines] (scienceblogs.com)
- White nose Bats may fight AIDS (abhimanyu007dotcom.wordpress.com)
- Artificial Cave to Shelter Bats from Deadly Fungus (theepochtimes.com)
- 5 Mysterious Animal Die-Offs (livescience.com)