October 30, 2017
As its name implies, the syndrome causes white fungus to grow on non-hairy parts of bats' bodies, including their noses and wings. Those areas can develop infected lesions.
Yet the bigger problem is the disease wakes up hibernating bats when they should be conserving their energy, says Texas Tech biology professor Richard Stevens, a bat researcher who formerly worked at LSU.
"They're on a pretty tight energy balance . and they just run out of energy and die," he said.
Louisiana's warm climate and lack of rock caves is giving scientists hope that the state's particular ecosystem could shelter species that are dying out elsewhere.