Bat Killing Fungus Has Made Its Way to Texas
A fungus that can fatally harm bats has made its way to Texas, threatening the diversity of species in our state.
The Washington Post reports that Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a fungus that covers hibernating bats and causes fatal skin lesions, was recently discovered in a cave near San Antonio. White-nose syndrome.org shared a report from Texas Parks and Wildlife indicating that the fungus is also present in six North Texas counties.
Wildlife officials say the fungus will take a couple of years to establish itself before its full, devastating effects are seen. The Washington Post points out that Texas has the nation's largest diversity of bats, and that their hunting habits provide around $6 billion-worth of ecosystem services that aid farmers in raising and maintaining healthy crops.
Texas' most famous bats, Mexican free-taileds, are resistant to the fungus because they don't lie dormant as long as other species, such as brown bats. However, they can carry and spread the fungus to other parts of the globe, particularly South America.