Bureau of Land Management biologists have detected the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome on hibernating bats and cave walls in two eastern New Mexico caves. The detections are the first in the state of the fungus. White-nose syndrome can be deadly to hibernating bats and has resulted in decimated bat populations elsewhere in the U.S.
Biologists observed what appeared to be the Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus, or Pd, on hibernating cave bats (Myotis velifer) during routine white-nose syndrome surveillance in April. Swab samples from the bats and cave walls confirmed the fungus on the caves in De Baca and Lincoln counties. Results were inconclusive at a third cave, the Fort Stanton Cave, also in Lincoln County.
White-nose syndrome has been confirmed in 36 states, including neighboring Texas and Oklahoma, and seven Canadian provinces. Evidence of the fungus, but not the syndrome, has been found in three additional states.