White-nose syndrome messes with bats’ metabolisms

little brown bat with white-nose syndrome

Bats with the deadly white-nose syndrome use twice as much fat for energy as their healthy companions in winter months.

Ryan von Linden/New York Department of Environmental Conservation/Wikimedia Commons  (CC BY 2.0)

Bats with the deadly white-nose syndrome may be burning their fat reserves too quickly to survive the winter. Researchers studying little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) found that sick bats use twice as much fat for energy as their healthy companions during the winter months. The findingpublished January 5 in BMC Physiology, provides evidence for scientists’ hypothesis that white-nose syndrome quickens the metabolisms of sick bats during hibernation.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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