The little brown bat is one of the most common species of bats in North America, and has been the preferred model organism for bat studies, and research. As well, these insectivores have been widely acclaimed by pest management experts, for their natural insect pest control services.
Little Brown Bats In Danger Of Extinction
Unfortunately, recent studies released have offered evidence that the little brown bat population in the North Eastern United States, is experiencing a steady and hasty decline from exposure to White nose syndrome- a disease caused by exposure to a particular fungus; first discovered in 2006. This infliction could result in the complete extinction of these natural exterminators, and the subsequent increase of insect pest control problems in the North Eastern United States; and throughout the rest of North America.
Concerned American biologists are asking the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, to place the little brown bat, once one of the most common mammals in North America and (to date) the most-affected species, on the endangered species list; until a formal review can be completed.
The White-Nose Syndrome fungus was first discovered back in 2006, in the caves of New York. It has since spread to some 28 U.S. States. It’s believed that the fungus was brought over from Europe, where WNS didn’t seem to have the same affect as it has on the 26 different species of hibernating North American bats.
White-Nose Syndrome affects Little Brown bats by altering their hibernation. Essentially, a white fungus will grow on a Little Brown bat’s nose and awaken the bat when it should be hibernating. The bat will use all of it’s energy reserves needed for hibernation, and eventually die off before spring rolls around and the bat can once again hunt bugs. The fungus also affects the little brown bat’s blood pressure, body temperature, and ability to fly and catch insects. It’s estimated that WNS has killed between 7-10 million hibernating bats.
The Little Brown Bat
As this bat’s name would suggest, it’s fur is uniformly dark brown and glossy on the back. The upper body is slightly paler, with greyish fur underneath. This species of bat has thirty-eight, relatively sharp teeth. As is typical for most insectivores, the little brown bat’s canine teeth are very prominent, enabling it to grasp hard-bodied insects; while still in flight. Considered very effective exterminators, a healthy population of Little Brown bats, can consume thousands of pounds of insect pests; each year.