Tuesday, August 23, 2016
A Bat Mystery
Today we learned that there are lots of bats dying. Here´s more information about this illness:
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an emergent disease of hibernating bats that has spread from the northeastern to the central United States at an alarming rate. Since the winter of 2007-2008, millions of insect-eating bats in 25 states and five Canadian provinces have died from this devastating disease. (see map below) The disease is named for the white fungus,Pseudogymnoascus destructans, that infects skin of the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats. In April 2014, WNS was confirmed in Michigan and Wisconsin.
The true ecological consequences of large-scale population reductions currently under way among hibernating bats are not yet known. However, farmers might feel the impact. In temperate regions, bats are primary consumers of insects, and a recent economic analysis indicated that insect suppression services (ecosystem services) provided by bats to U.S. agriculture is valued between 4 to 50 billion dollars per year.
Why Bats Are Important To the Environment