White-nose fungus found in Wyoming

A field biologist examines a long-legged myotis bat (Myotis volans) as part of an effort that led to the discovery of the white-nose syndrome fungus in a Wyoming bat. ©Leandra Boodoo/Wyoming Natural Diversity Database

Wildlife researchers have confirmed the first Wyoming case of a bat with the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) was found at the Fort Laramie National Historical Site in eastern Wyoming and tested positive for the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destuctans, or Pd. Wildlife officials say the bat was captured on May 16 during a survey to look out for white-nose syndrome. The discovery does not mean the bat has the disease, officials said, but it does signal that the pathogen that has killed millions of bats throughout the country has reached Wyoming. The disease has been found in 32 states and seven Canadian provinces. Biologists hope to determine where the fungus on this bat originated. “There will be some more intensive work probably next spring, and a little bit this winter as well, trying to get an idea from that epicenter, how far that spread may be,” TWS member Nicole Bjornlie, a nongame mammal biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, told Wyoming public radio.

Read the Wyoming Public Radio story here, and the press release here.