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Publication Date

April 2016


The introduction of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) to North America, agent of white-nose syndrome in hibernating bats, has increased interest in fungi from underground habitats. While bats are assumed to be the main vector transmitting Pd cave-to-cave, the role of other fauna is unexplored. We documented the fungi associated with over-wintering arthropods in Pd-positive hibernacula, including sites where bats had been recently extirpated or near-extirpated, to determine if arthropods carried Pd, and to compare fungal assemblages on arthropods to bats. We isolated 87 fungal taxa in 64 genera from arthropods. Viable Pd was cultured from 15.3% of arthropods, most frequently from harvestmen (Nelima elegans). Fungal assemblages on arthropods were similar to those on bats. The different fungal assemblages documented among arthropods may be due to divergent patterns of movement, aggregation, feeding, or other factors. While it is unlikely that arthropods play a major role in the transmission dynamics of Pd, we demonstrate that arthropods may carry viable Pd spores and therefore have the potential to transport Pd, either naturally or anthropogenically, within or among hibernacula. This underlines the need for those entering hibernacula to observe decontamination procedures and for such procedures to evolve as our understanding of potential mechanisms of Pd dispersal improve.


Pseudogymnoascus Destructans, Cave Fungi, Meta Ovalis, Nelima Elegans, Scoliopteryx Libatrix, Exechiopsis Sp., Anatella Sp., Entomopathogens, White-Nose Syndrome Decontamination

Document Type



Insects, Vol. 7, no. 2 (2016-04-22).





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