Possibible Fungus in Bats in Estonia in the 1970s

A January 31, 2008 blog posting on nature.com (http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2008/01/white_nose_syndrome_threatens.html) is mostly a generic WNS piece with little new information.  However, Dr Matti Masing of Estonia posted the comment below.  It may or may not be relevant to the WNS situation, but it is included here in case someone wants to check into it further (and speaks Estonian).

Dear colleagues,

I am Dr Matti Masing from Estonia. In the late 1970s I discovered a similar disease in bats hibernating in limestone tunnels near Tallinn, NW Estonia, NE Europe. This observation is published in my book Lendlased 1984, p 81 (in Estonian). In our case the disease (probable fungus), which I called „notch disease“, attacked the ears of bats. It was mostly found in Daubenton's Bats (DB) who spend lot of time in very humid environment. Much less was it observed in other Myotis species. It was never found in young bats, but up to 27% of adult Daubenton's Bats hibernating in some tunnels were affected by the disease. First the tops of ears became whitish and soft, later the white tissue disappeared but „eaten“ parts of ears were visible as deep notches, sometimes half of the ear of even more was missing. I have a photo of one bat who had deep notches in both ears. Probably this disease did not kill bats, as there was no population decline. Bats with notched ears were frequent and they seemed to live long. But this disease mainly occurred in the tunnels near Tallinn where up to 27% of adult DB were affected. Only 3.8% were affected in western Estonia and 0.4% in southeastern Estonia (Masing 1984).

Matti Masing

Posted by: Matti Masing | February 1, 2008 03:54 PM

Return to the White-Nose home page

This page last updated or verified on February 21, 2008