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Current Bats News and Events, Bats News Articles.
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Pinpointing the 'silent' mutations that gave the coronavirus an evolutionary edge
We know that the coronavirus behind the COVID-19 crisis lived harmlessly in bats and other wildlife before it jumped the species barrier and spilled over to humans. Now, researchers at Duke University have identified a number of ''silent'' mutations in the roughly 30,000 letters of the virus's genetic code that helped it thrive once it made the leap -- and possibly helped set the stage for the global pandemic. (2020-10-16)

Bats save energy by reducing energetically costly immune functions during annual migration
A team of scientists led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) investigated whether and how the immune response changes between pre-migration and migration seasons in the Nathusius pipistrelle bat. They confirmed that migratory bats favour the energetically ''cheaper'' non-cellular (humoral) immunity during an immune challenge and selectively suppress cellular immune responses. Thereby, bats save energy much needed for their annual migration. (2020-10-15)

First relatives of rubella virus discovered in bats in Uganda and mice in Germany
In a Ugandan forest, a team of American and African scientists take oral swabs from insect-eating cyclops leaf-nosed bats. In a necropsy room near the Baltic Sea, researchers try to determine what killed a donkey, a Bennett's tree-kangaroo and a capybara at a German zoo -- all of them suffering from severe brain swelling. Neither team was aware of the other, yet they were both about to converge on a discovery that would help solve a long-enduring mystery. (2020-10-07)

Generational shifts help migratory bats keep pace with global warming
An international team of scientists led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research demonstrated that in the common noctule bat, one of the largest European bat species, the colonization of hibernacula progresses from lower to higher latitudes over successive generations of young animals - especially first-year males. Because of their relatively high reproduction rate and the long-distance dispersal of male juveniles, it is probably relatively easy for common noctules to adjust to global warming. (2020-09-23)

Study shows SARS-CoV-2 jumped between people and mink, providing strong evidence of zoonotic transmission
A study investigating SARS-CoV-2 infections across 16 mink farms in the Netherlands, being presented at the ESCMID Conference on Coronavirus Disease (ECCVID, held online from 23-25 September) shows that the virus likely jumped between people and mink and back, providing strong evidence that animal to human (zoonotic) transmission is possible. (2020-09-17)

Animals' magnetic 'sixth' sense may come from bacteria, new paper suggests
A University of Central Florida researcher is co-author of a new paper that may help answer why some animals have a magnetic ''sixth'' sense, such as sea turtles' ability to return to the beach where they were born. The researchers recently authored an article in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B that proposes a hypothesis that the magnetic sense comes from a symbiotic relationship with magnetotactic bacteria. (2020-09-14)

How chemical diversity in plants facilitates plant-animal interactions
As we continue to lose global biodiversity, we are also losing chemical diversity and the chance for discovery,''said Lauren Maynard, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences within the College of Science. (2020-09-10)

Bat tick found for the first time in New Jersey
A tick species associated with bats has been reported for the first time in New Jersey and could pose health risks to people, pets and livestock, according to a Rutgers-led study in the Journal of Medical Entomology. This species (Carios kelleyi) is a ''soft'' tick. Deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, are an example of ''hard'' ticks. (2020-09-09)

Distribution range of Ebola virus carriers in Africa may be larger than previously assumed
Zaire ebolavirus is among the deadliest of all known Ebola viruses for humans and is most likely transmitted by various species of bats. Models recently developed by scientists of the Senckenberg Nature Research Society and the Goethe University in Frankfurt show where these species may thrive in Africa. The results of the study, published in the journal ''Scientific Reports'', suggest a wider range of distribution for the bat and fruit bat species than previously assumed. (2020-09-07)

What did the katydids do when picking up bat sounds?
Ecosystems can be incredibly complex, with many interacting species. In many habitats, predators shape they behavior of prey and prey shape the behavior of predators. This paper provides a detailed look at the predator-prey relationship between bats and katydids, a group of insects related to crickets and grasshoppers. (2020-08-28)

Penis bones, echolocation calls, and genes reveal new kinds of bats
Vesper bats are the biggest family of bats in the world, and they all kind of look alike, making it hard to tell different species apart. But scientists just discovered three new species and two new genera of vesper bats in Africa by comparing the bats' genes, their teeth and skulls, the high-frequency calls they make when echolocating, and the tiny bones in their penises. (2020-08-27)

Researchers to investigate wind power effects on bats in the Baltic Sea region
Despite the increasing numbers of wind turbines, their impacts on the environment are poorly known. A new study published by researchers in Finland focuses on wind turbines in the Baltic Sea region and their impact on bats and their migration. (2020-08-24)

Genomic analysis reveals many animal species may be vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection
Analysis of ACE2, the main receptor that SARS-CoV-2 uses to bind and enter cells, across 410 vertebrate species reveals that many are potentially susceptible to infection by the novel coronavirus. They include a number of endangered and threatened species, notably apes and old world primates. The study could also reveal potential intermediate hosts and animal models for the virus. (2020-08-21)

Why doesn't Ebola cause disease in bats, as it does in people?
A new study by researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston uncovered new information on why the Ebola virus can live within bats without causing them harm, while the same virus wreaks deadly havoc to people. (2020-08-18)

Mother bats use baby talk to communicate with their pups
When addressing infants, human adults tend to change the speed, pitch and ''color'' of their voice. This ''baby talk'' is known to facilitate language learning. According to new research at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, it may not be exclusive of humans. Some bats have their own version of ''baby talk'' to communicate with their pups. (2020-08-18)

Coronavirus transmission risk increases along wildlife supply chains
Coronaviruses were detected in a high proportion of bats and rodents in Viet Nam from 2013 to 2014, with an increasing proportion of positive samples found along the wildlife supply chain from traders to large markets to restaurants, according to a study published August 10, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Amanda Fine of the Wildlife Conservation Society and colleagues. (2020-08-10)

Researchers identify evolutionary origins of SARS-CoV-2
By reconstructing the evolutionary history of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, an international research team of Chinese, European and U.S. scientists has discovered that the lineage that gave rise to the virus has been circulating in bats for decades and likely includes other viruses with the ability to infect humans. The findings have implications for the prevention of future pandemics stemming from this lineage. (2020-07-28)

The genetic basis of bats' superpowers revealed
First six reference-quality bat genomes released and analysed (2020-07-23)

Genomic basis of bat superpowers revealed: Like how they survive deadly viruses
The genetic material that codes for bat adaptations and superpowers - such as the ability to fly, to use sound to move effortlessly in complete darkness, to tolerate and survive potentially deadly viruses, and to resist aging and cancer - has been revealed and published in Nature. (2020-07-22)

AJTMH July updates
Below is an update of COVID-19 articles published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (AJTMH). We've highlighted below those that we think may of interest for your reporting. (2020-07-22)

MRI scans of the brains of 130 mammals, including humans, indicate equal connectivity
Researchers at Tel Aviv University conducted a first-of-its-kind study designed to investigate brain connectivity in 130 mammalian species. The intriguing results, contradicting widespread conjectures, revealed that brain connectivity levels are equal in all mammals, including humans. (2020-07-20)

Researchers cast doubt on earlier COVID-19 origins study citing dogs as possible hosts
A study published earlier this year claiming the coronavirus may have jumped from dogs to humans is scientifically flawed, offering no direct evidence to support its conclusions, according to a collaborative group of international researchers, including scientists at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. (2020-07-14)

Bat research critical to preventing next pandemic
The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has a likely connection to bats, and the next viral outbreak probably will too. A recent review led by WSU's Michael Letko calls for more research into bats' molecular biology and their ecology, to help predict, and hopefully prevent, the next pandemic. (2020-07-13)

When calling loudly, echolocation is costly for small bats
Calling in the ultrasonic range enables small bats to orient themselves in the dark and track down insects. Louder calls travel farther, improving a bat's ability to detect their prey. It was long assumed that echolocation does not contribute much to energy expenditure in flight because individuals couple their calls with the beat of their wings. Scientists at the Leibniz-IZW in Berlin have now shown that high intensity echolocation calls substantially contribute to energy expenditure. (2020-07-13)

Structural analysis of COVID-19 spike protein provides insight into its evolution
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have characterised the structure of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as well as its most similar relative in a bat coronavirus. The structures provide clues about how the spike evolved and could help inform vaccine design. (2020-07-09)

Trust me if you can
Each year, wind turbines are responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of airborne animals such as bats. To find a constructive way out of this ''green-green'' dilemma, companies building and running wind turbines might have to work together with environmental experts and conservationists. Yet lack of trust between them can hinder effective collaboration. Scientists of the Leibniz-IZW show: shared values are not sufficient to build trust, as beliefs and emotions have stronger influence. (2020-07-09)

Bats offer clues to treating COVID-19
Bats carry many viruses, including COVID-19, without becoming ill. Biologists at the University of Rochester are studying the immune system of bats to find potential ways to ''mimic'' that system in humans. (2020-07-09)

Movement ecology bears fruits: ATLAS supports map-based navigation of wild bats
Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University researchers collaborated on tracking wild bats' foraging habits in their natural habitat. They found evidence that the animals navigate using an advanced cognitive map. (2020-07-09)

Why it's no last orders for the Tequila bat
Scientists studying the 'near threatened' tequila bat, best known for its role in pollinating the Blue Agave plant from which the drink of the same name is made from, have analysed its DNA to help inform conservationists on managing their populations. The findings are published in Global Ecology and Conservation. (2020-07-06)

COVID-19 from food safety and biosecurity perspective
Most recently emerged pneumonia of unknown cause named COVID-19 has a devastating impact on public health and economy surpassing its counterparts in morbidity and mortality. Asymptomatic spread appears to be prevalent in China from where it is originated, lacking a clear and precise understanding of the transmission dynamics. (2020-06-24)

A new social role for echolocation in bats that hunt together
To find prey in the dark, bats use echolocation. Some species, like Molossus molossus, may also search within hearing distance of their echolocating group members, sharing information about where food patches are located. Social information encoded in their echolocation calls may facilitate this foraging strategy that allows them to find food faster. (2020-06-19)

Wind farms on the Black Sea coast could endanger bat populations in Eastern Europe
The Via Pontica, an important migration route for birds in Eastern Europe, runs along the Black Sea coast of Romania and Bulgaria. Bats also use this route. In this region, numerous wind farms have been installed in recent years because of good wind conditions. A Romanian research team with the Leibniz-IZW in Berlin demonstrated that this leads to high death rates of migrating bats and potentially large declines even in populations living in other countries. (2020-06-17)

Ebola transmission risks would be taken more seriously with ground-up interventions
A study led by the University of Kent's Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) has found significant differences in disease risk perception and channels of information about Ebola virus disease (EVD) in rural areas and urban centres of Guinea, West Africa. (2020-06-10)

Restoring vision by gene therapy
Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration. (2020-06-04)

How do land-use changes affect the spread of diseases between animals and people?
Most new viruses and other pathogens that arise in humans are transmitted from other animals, as in the case of the virus that causes COVID-19. A recent review published in Mammal Review examines how changes in land-use--such as deforestation, urbanization, and conversion to agriculture--have affected such transmission. (2020-06-03)

'Major gaps' in understanding how land-use changes affect spread of diseases
The quest to discover how new diseases -- such as Covid-19 -- emerge and spread in response to global land-use change driven by human population expansion still contains 'major gaps', researchers have claimed. (2020-06-03)

SARS-CoV-2 possibly emerged from shuffling and selection of viral genes across different species
A combination of genetic shuffling and evolutionary selection of near-identical genetic sequences among specific bat and pangolin coronaviruses may have led to the evolution of SARS-CoV-2. (2020-05-29)

Evolution of pandemic coronavirus outlines path from animals to humans
A team of scientists studying the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic, found that it was especially well-suited to jump from animals to humans by shapeshifting as it gained the ability to infect human cells. (2020-05-29)

MetaviralSPAdes -- New assembler for virus genomes
There was no specialized viral metagenome assembler until recently. But the joint team of Russian and US researchers from Saint-Petersburg State University and University of California at San Diego just released the metaviralSPAdes assembler (published in journal Bioinformatics on May 16) that turns the analysis of the metavirome sequencing results into an easy task. (2020-05-25)

Eavesdropping crickets drop from the sky to evade capture by bats
Researchers have uncovered the highly efficient strategy used by a group of crickets to distinguish the calls of predatory bats from the incessant noises of the nocturnal jungle. The findings, led by scientists at the universities of Bristol and Graz in Austria and published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, reveal the crickets eavesdrop on the vocalizations of bats to help them escape their grasp when hunted. (2020-05-17)

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