31 Oct '12, 1pm

A frightening fungus has killed more than a million bats in North America #whitenose #halloween

Despite its name, white-nose syndrome seems primarily to attack a bat’s wings. The infected wings tear easily, lose elasticity and often end up looking like “crumpled tissue paper,” says Cryan. “Healthy wings are very important to bats,” he explains, not just for flying but also during hibernation. Bats are especially susceptible to dehydration throughout the long winter, and their wings help them maintain proper water balance. When WNS penetrates a wing, Cryan notes, the fungus is “basically poking holes in the bucket,” causing water to leak out. He and his colleagues believe extreme thirst eventually rouses the bats from their winter torpor, and they leave their cave to find water. This depletes the fat stores the animals depend on to get through the cold months. Most of them perish before spring.

Full article: http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/A...

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