Going, going, gone: the impact of white-nose syndrome on the summer activity of the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus)

Biol Lett. 2011 Jun 23;7(3):392-4. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0859. Epub 2010 Nov 24.


Since its discovery in the winter of 2005-2006, white-nose syndrome (WNS) has killed over one million little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) in the American northeast. Although many studies have reported die-offs of bats at winter hibernacula, it is important to understand how bat mortality linked to WNS at winter hibernacula affects bat activity levels in their summer ranges. In the summer (May-August) of 2007, 2008 and 2009, we recorded echolocation calls to determine bat activity at sites along the Hudson River, NY (within approx. 100 km of where WNS was first reported). We documented a 78 per cent decline in the summer activity of M. lucifugus, coinciding with the arrival and spread of WNS. We suggest that mortality of M. lucifugus in winter hibernacula is reflected by reduced levels of activity in the summer and that WNS affects the entire bat population of an area, and not only individual hibernacula.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chiroptera / physiology*
  • Echolocation*
  • Extinction, Biological
  • Hibernation
  • Mycoses / mortality
  • Mycoses / veterinary*
  • New York