White-nose syndrome (WNS), an emerging infectious disease caused by the novel fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has devastated North American bat populations since its discovery in 2006. The little brown myotis, Myotis lucifugus, has been especially affected. The goal of this 2-year captive study was to determine the impact of hibernacula temperature and sex on WNS survivorship in little brown myotis that displayed visible fungal infection when collected from affected hibernacula. In study 1, we found that WNS-affected male bats had increased survival over females and that bats housed at a colder temperature survived longer than those housed at warmer temperatures. In study 2, we found that WNS-affected bats housed at a colder temperature fared worse than unaffected bats. Our results demonstrate thatWNS mortality varies among individuals, and that colder hibernacula are more favourable for survival. They also suggest that female bats may be more negatively affected by WNS than male bats, which has important implications for the long-term survival of the little brown myotis in eastern North America.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Authors.
- Disease ecology
- Pseudogymnoascus destructans