White-Nose Syndrome Confirmed in Two Arkansas Caves, Pd in Another

A tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) showing symptoms of white-nose syndrome in a Jackson County, Alabama cave.

A tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) showing symptoms of white-nose syndrome in a Jackson County, Alabama cave. Photo by Dr. William E. Stone

January surveys of caves in Arkansas have discovered bats positive for white-nose syndrome or the fungus that causes it in three additional counties.

Infected bats were found in Independence County and Newton County caves while a third cave in McIlroy Madison County Wildlife Management Area was confirmed with Pseudogymnoascus destructans.

Two dead tri-colored bats found in the Independence County cave were submitted to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin where the fungus associated with white-nose syndrome was confirmed.

Later, in a cave on the Buffalo River in Newton County biologists found three tri-colored bats that had fungus on their muzzles. Two of the bats were confirmed to have white-nose syndrome.

Biologists also found Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus associated with white-nose syndrome on tri-colored bats and the walls of the cave in the McIlroy Madison County WMA.

First confirmed in Arkansas in early 2014, the state’s Game and Fish Commission have now confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome in bats from four counties and it is suspected in three others.

Between the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and other public agencies, nearly all public caves in the state has been closed since 2010 in an attempt to slow the spread of white-nose syndrome.

I’m not surprised. In spite of all efforts, nothing has been able to stop the spread of this disease since it was discovered in the United States several years ago.

So far we haven’t seen any significant population declines of Arkansas bat populations, but that is probably only a matter of time. Blake Sasse, AGFC Nongame Mammal Program Leader

Since being discovered in a cave in New York in 2006, white-nose syndrome has spread to five Canadian provinces and 25 states with devastating effects.

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