Deadly bat disease on track to wipe out a species in the Northeast
By Beth Daley
A deadly disease is destroying Northeast bat populations so rapidly that one of New England’s most common species is likely to disappear within 20 years, Boston University and other scientists conclude in a study published today.
The regional extinction of the little brown bat, which has the phenomenal ability to eat its body weight in insects every night, would wipe out a predator of many garden and agricultural pests, as well as of some mosquitoes.
"We don’t pretend to be fortune tellers ... but we're very worried," said Winifred F. Frick, a Boston University and University of California, Santa Cruz postdoctoral researcher who is the lead author of the paper in the journal Science. "The loss of so many bats is basically a terrible experiment in how much these animals matter for insect control."