WNS Fungus sighting?

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WNS Fungus sighting?

Postby adempewolff » Aug 11, 2008 9:35 am

I accidentally left a handline rigged overnight in the entrance of Morris Cave (left through another entrance and forgot it) and when I came to get it the next day I noticed a few dots of white and a larger patch of white. I couldn't tell what it was exactly but it could have been a fungus. My only other guess would be piece of spider silk, I did see several eggsacs and webs right inside the entrance, but I've never seen spiders just leave dots and patches of silk on stuff.

Should I report this to anyone? There is a place to report and comment on trips to albany area caves but nothing for vt area caves. It seems like if it actually was a fungus this is proof that it can grow on our gear. Should I take pictures of the webbing before I submit it to the decontamination of its life? I bought a new length which I will use in other caves for the time being before I decide what to do with it.
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Re: WNS Fungus sighting?

Postby PYoungbaer » Aug 11, 2008 1:02 pm

You should take photos and keep a sample, if possible. Contact Scott Darling, Wildlife Biologist, at the Rutland office of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department(802) 483-2172. He is the Vermont WNS expert, and familiar with Morris Cave and the White Nose situation there. I'm sure he'd be interested in your findings.

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Re: WNS Fungus sighting?

Postby adempewolff » Aug 12, 2008 12:53 am

Photos taken, don't exactly have a Nikon D3 and Macro lens with me but they are decent, I will post them tomorrow. I wish I had had a camera when I first picked it up. Its really hard to tell what the heck this is especially now that it has dried out, I can't even decide if it is inorganic or organic. I'm almost inclined to think it is marblely mud, but the texture is weird and the mud on the rest of the webbing is pretty brown and a distinctly different texture (and the webbing was clean when it was placed). I'm going through Rutland tomorrow afternoon so maybe I'll give Scott a call in the morning and see if I can drop it off. Even if it does turn out to be a mineral encrustation its better to be safe than sorry with this I guess.
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Re: WNS Fungus sighting?

Postby adempewolff » Aug 12, 2008 10:51 am

Here are the pictures, most of the stuff has faded or been washed or worn off by rain and travel but these are the ones still visible.

I couldn't get in touch with Scott Darling it said the number was out of service, could I look up his office in the phonebook? The more and more I look at these though I think they are mineral encrustations, runoff with crushed marble in solution from OMYA's operation uphill or something. At first they looked fuzzy and organic but as they have dried they look a lot more like some sort of mineral. Still was quite the shock to return to grab my webbing and find bright white spots on it.


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