Fungus takes toll on northern long-eared bats

A winter survey of Missouri caves found an alarming decline in the population of a bat species once common across the state.

Surveys of more than 300 caves and mines earlier this winter found a total of six northern long-eared bats, Shelly Colatske, a cave ecologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, said.

The species’ decline accelerated in the past two years. Surveys of 375 caves and mines in 2015 found 2,684 northern long-eared bats.

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