WNS confirmed in Alabama bat species for first time

The dreaded white-nose syndrome, which has devastated populations of several species of bats in the United States and Canada, has been confirmed for the first time in a species called the southeastern bat, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The infected southeastern bat was found in a cave in Shelby County, and is the first member of its species (Myotis austroriparius) confirmed to have white-nose syndrome and the first infected bat of any species found in Shelby County. A USGS lab confirmed the test results this week.

White-nose is caused by a fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans or Pd, and spreads easily among hibernating bats in winter. The disease causes a distinctive white fungus to appear on infected bats, often around the muzzle. Infected bats often display unusual behavior, sometimes flying outside during daylight hours or clustering near the entrances of their caves in winter.

The disease has killed millions of bats across the U.S. and Canada, and in some infected areas has killed 90 to 100 percent of the bats that lived there.

Read more at Alabama.com

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