The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in hibernating bats has been detected on three species in the Texas counties of Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Hardeman, King and Scurry.
The fungus was found in samples collected by a team from Texas A&M University’s Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and wildlife and fisheries sciences department, along with Bat Conservation International. The tested samples showed the fungus was present on tri-colored, cave myotis and Townsend’s big-eared bats.
Bats play an important role in controlling insect populations that pose threats to Texas crops as well as assist in crop pollination. In 2011, the authors of the paper “Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture” estimated the loss of bats to have a negative economic impact on U.S. agriculture of at least $3.7 billion annually. Recent studies indicate the value of insect control by bats to Texas agriculture is $1.4 billion annually, based on fewer crop losses from insects, reduced disease and less pesticide use.
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