Bat, Bee, Frog Deaths May Be Linked
In recent years, diseases have ravaged through bat, honeybee and amphibian populations, and now animal experts suspect that shared factors may link the deaths, which are putting many species at risk for extinction. The latest setback affects bats, given this week’s announcement that the deadly fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in already endangered gray bats. The illness, caused by the fungus Geomyces destructans, has mortality rates reaching up to 100% at some sites. Simultaneously, Colony Collapse Disorder continues to kill honeybees, while yet another fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has wiped out more than 200 frog species across the world.
Human factors tied to the bat, frog and bee deaths include facilitated fungal spread, the use of chemical pesticides that may be absorbed through the skin, climate change, habitat loss and the spread of other health threats, such as viruses and mites.