South Dakota Bat Working Group
August 2020

White-Nose Syndrome

WNS is now in South Dakota

Pseudogymnoascus destructans (formerly known as Geomyces destructans) is a psychrophilic (cold-loving) fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fatal disease that has devastated bat populations in parts of the United States and Canada since 2006. Unlike other species of Geomyces, P. destructans grows in the temperatures found in winter bat hibernacula (4-20 °C). It was detected in South Dakota in May 2018.

US Fish and Wildlife Service
News - Disease outbreak
National Park Service

The name “White Nose Syndrome” (WNS) is apt because of the telltale white fungus growing on the noses of most infected bats. Infected bats arise from hibernation to attempt to deal with the fungal irritation, but in doing so, they prematurely burn up their fat stores and starve to death in mid-winter.



Photograph: Al Hicks, 2009 of Myotis lucifugus  



Additional Resources

2012 Article [pdf]: Warnecke et al., Inoculation of bats with European Geomyces destructans supports the novel pathogen hypothesis for the origin of white-nose syndrome.

2009 Article [pdf]: Gargas et al., Geomyces destructans sp. nov. associated with bat white-nose syndrome
2009 Article [pdf]: Zimmerman, Biologists struggle to solve bat deaths (review article in SCIENCE)
2009 Article [pdf]: Meteyer et a;., Histopathologic criteria to confirm white-nose syndrome in bats
2009 Article [pdf]: WBWG recommendations for addressing WNS (5 May, 2008)
2009 Article [pdf]: Recommended field procedures for prevent spread of WNS (15 June, 2009)
2009 Article [pdf]: NWHC recommended procedures
2009 Article [.pdf]: White-Nose-Syndrome (Science Strategy Meeting II) 27 May, 2009

2010 Article [.pdf]: SCIENCE January 2010
2010 Article [.pdf]: NATURE January 2010
2010 Article [.pdf]: Bat Conservation International
2010 Article [.pdf]: National Speleological Society
2010 Article [.pdf]: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

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