Tuesday, 5 November 2013

White Nose Syndrome, Bat-Killing Fungus, Is All But Invincible, Study Finds

As the weather cools and bats across North America prepare to hibernate, a new study sheds light on the mysterious monster that will haunt them in their sleep. Much like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and other Halloween villains, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats is ridiculously difficult to kill, researchers report.

That fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has killed around 6 million American bats since its debut in a single New York cave seven years ago. It now infects 22 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces, decimating entire bat colonies with a mortality rate of nearly 100 percent. And according to a new study published in the journal PLOS One, P. destructans is a flexible fiend whose survival doesn't hinge on the bats it massacres.

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