(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- A deadly fungus has been discovered on gray bats in Tennessee, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.
The fungus, known as Geomyces destructans, which causes white-nose syndrome, was shown in recent lab results to have infected gray bats in caves in Hawkins and Montgomery counties. It is the first time white-nose syndrome has been found on gray bats anywhere in the country.
The fungus causes irritating skin lesions that cause the bats to awaken during hibernation, forcing them to find food when not much is available. The bats starve to death as a result, the paper says.
White-nose syndrome has killed an estimated 6.7 million bats, according to the Sentinel.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio