Symptoms of WNS infection include a powdery growth on the nose, ears, and wing membranes. The fungus affects the skin of the bat causing necrosis in the wing and tail membranes, a likely painful experience for the bat. Infected bats, experiencing a depletion of fat reserves, tend to awake earlier from hibernation and often emerge from caves prematurely. These bats will typically die from exposure or starvation1 due to elevated metabolism and an inability to fight infection.
Transmission occurs via direct contact from bat to bat, or from environmental reservoirs (ex, cave) to bat2. This fungus is able to live in the soil in the absence of bats3.
1Lilley et al. 2016
2Foley et al 2011
3Lorch et al. 2013, Linder et al. 2010