Economical reasons to save bats

File:Corn earworm on Corn ear.jpg Image of a corn earworm by Sarah from Statesboro GA, USA (Corn Earworm on corn ear) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that bats are important nocturnal predators of insects that would otherwise attack crops. In addition, bats help to protect crops from fungal infections brought on by pests and are important pollinators. According to the new research, the pest-control services provided by bats for corn crops alone is worth about 1 billion dollars on a global scale. In a quote published in the BBC news, study author Josiah Maine (Southern Illinois University) said, "The results of this study are a testament to the value of ecosystem services."

The concern is that populations of bats have been decimated by white nose syndrome, a disease we have talked about in prior posts (See: White nose syndrome and WNS revisited). In fact, according to the US National Wildlife Health Centre, the disease is associated with a reduction in bat populations in the northeastern United States by ~80%. This decline is likely to have a major impact on agriculture.

For prior posts on white nose syndrome see:

Hibernating North American Bats Face Possible Endangerment

White Nose Syndrome, continued

White Nose Syndrome, revisited



Maine JJ, Boyles JG. Bats initiate vital agroecological interactions in corn. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2015 [Epub ahead of print]

BBC News

More like this

By Noel Feans (originally posted to Flickr as Watch your back!) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons New research suggests that cats may have played a role in the extinction of about 40 species of wild dogs by simply out-hunting them and therefore…
By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters [CC BY 2.0 ( or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Got bugs? Get a bat. As many species of bats are insectivores, they help keep insect populations in check. Hurricane…
Image of brittle star by Jerry Kirkhart from Los Osos, Calif. [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons A new study published in Frontiers in Zoology examined the developmental process involved in regulating limb regeneration in brittle stars (Amphiura…
The opening session was great! By Tatsuo Yamashita (Flickr: ワンセグで紅白をみます 2012/12/31) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons Eric Hoffman (Children's National Medical Center) presented work on chronic inflammatory diseases in children. He mentioned that…