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White-Nose Syndrome

Scientific Name

Fungus, formerly known as Geomyces destructans is now known as Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd. (Minnis and Lindner 2013)

Common Name

White-Nose Syndrome (WNS)

Native To
Date of U.S. Introduction

First detected in Albany County, New York in 2007, but the earliest evidence of the disease is from February 2006 in Schoharie County, New York (Hoyt et al. 2021)

Means of Introduction

Most likely introduced by human activity, possibly by a visitor to a show cave in New York. (Leopardi et al. 2015; Puechmaille et al. 2011)

Impact

Disease of bats causing a population decline of 72 to 88 percent of hibernating species in the northeastern U.S. (Lorch et al. 2012; Puechmaille et al. 2011)

White nose syndrome - DOI, USGS

White-nose syndrome, little brown bat with fungus on muzzle

Credit

Al Hicks, New York Department of Environmental Conservation

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Spotlights

  • Forests for Bats: New Booklet for Landowners and Managers

    • May 6, 2021
    • USDA. FS. Southern Research Station. CompassLive.

    • "Almost all North American bats rely on forests for survival," says Roger Perry, USDA Forest Service research wildlife biologist. Perry recently led the team that updated Forest Management and Bats, a booklet designed for private landowners and anyone managing forests. It was first published in 2006 by Bat Conservation International, and Daniel Taylor of BCI wrote the original version and contributed to the update. The updated publication is a 2020 product of the White-nose Syndrome National Plan.

  • White-nose Syndrome Detected in Bats at Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming: Two Bats Are State's First Confirmed Cases

    • Jun 15, 2021
    • DOI. NPS. Devils Tower National Monument.

    • Wildlife researchers have confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in bats at Devils Tower National Monument. While this is the first confirmation of WNS in the state, the fungus that causes WNS, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), was potentially detected in southeast Wyoming as early as 2018. Biologists from the University of Wyoming discovered evidence of WNS during surveys completed in early May 2021, when they captured and sampled bats to test for the fungus.

      The NPS will be working closely with the climbing community at Devils Tower to better understand and develop guidance for climbers to help care for and protect Wyoming’s bat populations – including how to safely clean and disinfect climbing gear. Climbers and cavers who have used gear or clothing in WNS-infected areas should not re-use them in areas not already known to have Pd fungus. If you see a sick or dead bat, report it to park rangers or Game and Fish biologists, but do not touch or pick up the bat.

  • White-Nose Syndrome Killed Over 90% of Three North American Bat Species

    • Apr 21, 2021
    • DOI. United States Geological Survey.

    • White-nose syndrome has killed over 90% of northern long-eared, little brown and tri-colored bat populations in fewer than 10 years, according to a new study published in Conservation Biology. Researchers also noted declines in Indiana bat and big brown bat populations. The findings, detailed in "The scope and severity of white-nose syndrome on hibernating bats in North America," underscore the devastating impacts of the deadly fungal disease. The research tapped into the most comprehensive data set on North American bat populations to date, which includes data from over 200 locations in 27 states and two Canadian provinces.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Winner of National Prize Challenge to Defeat Bat-Killing Fungus

    • Nov 10, 2020
    • DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that a team of six researchers from Oregon State University and the University of California, Santa Cruz are the winners of a national prize challenge to combat white-nose syndrome (WNS), a lethal wildlife disease that has killed millions of bats in North America and pushed some native bat species to the brink of extinction. The Service's White-nose Syndrome Program launched the challenge last October as part of a multi-faceted funding strategy to develop management tools to fight the disease. A total of 47 proposed solutions were submitted for permanently eradicating, weakening or disarming Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes WNS, thereby improving survival in bat species affected by the disease. A panel of 18 experts from academic institutions, federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations evaluated the challenge entries based on readiness, deployment scale, species susceptibility, ease of use, cost efficiency, efficacy and risk to resources.

      In the coming months, the Service will announce a second challenge to offer an additional $80,000, as we continue to pursue novel, innovative solutions that could help us permanently eradicate, weaken, or disarm the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. The Service plans to hold additional idea prize challenges in the future to invite solvers with a diverse array of knowledge, skills, expertise and perspectives to help the agency tackle today’s toughest conservation issues.

  • White-Nose Syndrome Confirmed in Bat in Texas

    • Mar 5, 2020
    • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

    • For the first time, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologists have confirmed the disease white-nose syndrome (WNS) in a Texas bat. Up until this point, while the fungus that causes the disease was previously detected in Texas in 2017, there were no signs of the disease it can cause. WNS has killed millions of hibernating bats in the eastern parts of the United States, raising national concern. WNS is a fungal disease only known to occur in bats and is not a risk to people. However, bats are wild animals and should not be handled by untrained individuals. The public is encouraged to report dead or sick bats to TPWD at nathan.fuller@tpwd.texas.gov for possible testing.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

Videos

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Council or Task Force
Partnership
Federal Government
International Government
State and Local Government
Academic
Professional
Citations