TOP News

Technology:They call it a 'bat apocalypse.' The fungus causing it is spreading across Texas

The Worst Disease Ever Recorded

The Worst Disease Ever Recorded A doomsday fungus known as Bd has condemned more species to extinction than any other pathogen.

They call it a 'bat apocalypse.' The fungus causing it is spreading across Texas© Ryan Von Linden/MCT/TNS This is a close-up of a bat with fungus, New York, October 2008.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The fungus that kills bats showed up in Texas only two years ago, but now it is marching across the state

So far, no cases of white-nose syndrome have been discovered in Texas.

But it usually takes two to four years before the fungus starts causing white-nose syndrome, said Jonah Evans, a Texas Parks and Wildlife mammalogist.

Texas Parks and Wildlife announced this week that the fungus was found in 22 sites in 16 counties in 2019. Eleven of those counties are new and it has now been found in 21 Texas counties.

The fungus’ spread across the U.S. has led some scientists to warn that it could lead to a regional extinction of some bat species. The syndrome gets its name from the white fuzz found on the noses of infected bats as they overwinter in caves.

Deadly germs, Lost cures: A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy

Deadly germs, Lost cures: A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy Last May, an elderly man was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery. 

Last year, National Geographic went so far as to warn that a bat apocalypse is unfolding.

The syndrome disrupts bats during hibernation.

“It causes them to wake up multiple times while they are hibernating,” Evans said. “It depletes reserves and the bats die off from starvation or go in search of food and then they die.”

Will the same thing happen in Texas?

Another warm weather state, Mississippi, has had the fungus longer than Texas but hasn’t seen white-nose syndrome develop.

“There’s a lot we still don’t know about,” Evans said.

Texas has 33 species of bats and officials estimate white-nose syndrome could harm eight of them. In Texas, the fungus has been detected on 43 cave myotis, 13 Mexican free-tailed bats and four tri-colored bats.

'Better Call Saul' to End With Season 6, Star Says

'Better Call Saul' to End With Season 6, Star Says A source tells The Hollywood Reporter, however, that an endgame isn't set in stone yet.

“Based on their track record in other states, we’re certainly worried,” Evans said, referring to tri-colored bats.

It’s uncertain how Mexican free-tailed bats, the most common in Texas, will fare.

“Since the free-tailed bat doesn’t hibernate, it may not impact them,” Evans said. “The downside is they may be a vector for spreading the fungus since free-tailed bats are found as far south as Chile and Argentina and along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.”

Arlington resident Kate Rugroden is chairwoman of the White-nose Syndrome Stakeholders Committee and vice president/treasurer at Bat World Sanctuary in Weatherford. She said bats are vitally important to the ecosystem and the economy.

One brown bat, which is about the size of a human thumb, can eat 4 to 8 grams of insects per night, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A 2011 Science magazine report estimated the value of bats to agriculture could be between $3.7 billion and $53 billion per year.

“Bats are essential to life,” Rugroden said. “They are a keystone species. They have a huge job to do.”


©2019 Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Visit the Fort Worth Star-Telegram at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Read More

Caroline Receiver presents her new baby .
She never stops! After having launched her detox tea brand, made her Instagram account a real media, wrote a book, gave birth to her first child and worked in collaboration with many houses, Caroline Receeur launches this month Recc Paris, her brand of women's ready-made clothing.

See also