White-nose syndrome killing little brown bats

Capital News Service
LANSING — Little brown bat populations are unlikely to recover from a wide-spread fungal disease anytime soon, according to a recent study. And if other bat populations follow suit, say goodbye to your margaritas! Bats are one of the largest global pollinators of agave – the plant that tequila is made from – and are diminishing quickly in the U.S.. “White-nose syndrome is the biggest wildlife catastrophe in America in the last 100 years,” said Rob Mies, executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation – a national advocacy group focused on the preservation of bats and based in the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills. Although the report focused only on little brown bats, the model created by the study could be applied to all bat species affected by white-nose syndrome, said Wayne Thogmartin, a U.S. Geological Survey ecologist and one of the lead researchers on the study.

Michigan bats found with white-nose fungus

Capital News Service
LANSING — A fungus that has already killed more than 10 million bats nationwide has been found for the first time in Michigan. White-nose syndrome was confirmed April 10 in little brown bats in Alpena, Dickinson and Mackinac counties. It is expected to spread quickly through the state, said Bill Scullon, wildlife biologist and statewide bat coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. The bats were found during a routine winter inspection done by researchers contracted by the department. Michigan farmers, foresters and homeowners count on bats as the primary predators of nighttime insects.