Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by sculptor, Oct 11, 2015.
Die off still in process?
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Unfortunately, yes. Same is true of bees.
Conservatives estimates in 2012 alone placed the death toll of North Americans bats being killed by White Nose Syndrome at 5.7-6.7 million. ( Froschauer & Coleman,2012). In some of the instances, the mortality rates were near 100% ( Froschauer & Coleman,2012).
Poor buggers. first it's bees, then bats, and Old Taz is being decimated too, by contagious facial tumors.
Froschauer, A., & Coleman, J. (2012, January 7). North American bat death toll exceeds 5.5 million from white-nose syndrome. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from https://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/sites/default/files/files/wns_mortality_2012_nr_final_0.pdf
The extinction of bats would be an ecological crisis, but we'd probably find a way to survive. The extinction of bees, on the other hand, would result in a drastic reduction of the human food supply. Starvation would be widespread and something like 75% of the earth's population would die, not to mention the riots and wars that would be the second-order effects. Civilization might collapse.
True, most North American bat species are insectivores, and they help put a dent in the population of pathogen carrying insects.
It's little details like this that make humanity's own hubris in thinking that they control the planet, or are exempt from the biosphere, an utter farce.
Shades of Rachel
Magnifying Up the Food Web
I suspect that it is insecticides and herbicides which are the root cause of both the colony collapse disorder and the weakened bat populations.
I wish that were true, because it might create enough leverage on the trashers to get a leash on them, but humans can get by - in a degraded way, but perfectly healthy and well fed and corporate profitable - on wind and fly and self pollinated plants. Corn, rice, beans, wheat, sorghum, millet, bananas, sugar cane, etc etc etc, do not depend on bees.
Honeybees, in particular, are domesticated animals. Most of the agricultural systems on this planet - including the heavily plant based ones of the New World and Asia that have been feeding the planet these days - did not employ them. They can go under, and human life will go on. In a way.
Likewise with bats. We'll miss them, but we don't "need" them. So if it comes down to economics - as it may - the bats will lose. Corporate prosperity is a "need", diverse and enchanting and deeply exhilarating landscapes are hippie woo.
No. The cause has been clearly identified as white nose syndrome, a fungus that grows on the muzzles and wings of hibernating bats.
Obviously bats can easily transmit it to each other and even to other nearby populations, but spelunkers (people who explore caves as a hobby) carry the organism to much more distant locations.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has called for a moratorium on cave exploration in affected areas, and recommends decontamination of clothing and equipment. They would like to simply close down access to these caves, but the political and practical issues make that difficult.
The demise of bats would be a catastrophe for farmers, whose crops would be besieged by enormous swarms of insects that would be impossible to thwart with current technology. And of course anything that comprises a catastrophe for farmers would also be a catastrophe for the people who depend on their food for survival.
People have clearly been spreading the disease, but its absence for thousands of years from bat populations in contact with each other over continent wide areas requires some further explanation.
Probably not. There are many successful farming operations in areas all but devoid of significant bat populations, and bats are not the kind of fast reproducing agents that can handle swarm outbreaks of pest insects.
sculptor said: ↑
I suspect that it is insecticides and herbicides which are the root cause of . . . . the weakened bat populations.
excerpts from this article:
White nose fungus has many elements
in common with the fungus
which has caused massive die-offs
in amphibian populations (Eskew
and Todd 2013). Pesticide contamination
has been proposed as a contributing
factor in both diseases
European bats may
have evolved resistance to the
pathogen, and probably have
immune system protection. The
immune system of U.S. bats is
unable to prevent infection and
death, either because acquired
immunity to the novel pathogen is
slow to develop, or because the
immune systems of U.S. bats are
A number of things could lead to
immune suppression. Improper
nutrition could have an effect. Bats
are voracious foragers, eating close
to their weight in insects every day.
If their food supply is reduced, due
either to pesticides or weather conditions,
improper nutrition might
lead to a depressed immune system
(Barclay and Dolan 1991; Kannan
et al. 2010; Burles et al. 2008).
Bat immune systems may be
depressed from environmental contamination
or pesticide residues.
Little brown bats can live for 34
years, and often eat their body
weight of insects every day (BrunetRossini
and Wilkinson 2009). With
this kind of metabolic flow, they are
vulnerable to accumulation of pesticides
and environmental contaminants,
We ain't nowhere near a bottom line on this, and the science definitely ain't "settled".
I have bats in my backyard, I took a picture of one with a flash.
any caves nearby?
A hollow tree near a pond.
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