Damselflies form an essential part of the aquatic and terrestrial food web. Pesticides may, however, negatively affect their behavior, physiology, and survival. To assess this, a 42-day-lasting bioassay was conducted, during which damselfly larvae (Ischnura graellsii; n = 20) were repeatedly exposed to lambda-cyhalothrin (3 days at; 0, 10, 50, 250, 1250, and 6250ng LCH L−1), followed by recovery phases (4 days) in pesticide-free medium for six weeks. This exposure design was used to simulate frequent runoff events in the field. Variables related to the behavior (strikes against prey and capture success), growth, physiology (lipid content and fatty acid composition), as well as mortality were assessed throughout the experiment. The two highest LCH concentrations induced 100% mortality within the first 48h, whereas 85% of the test organisms survived 28 days under control conditions. The number of strikes against prey was not affected by LCH. In contrast, prey capture success decreased significantly (up to ~50% at 250ng LCH L−1, for instance, after the third pulse exposure) following LCH-exposures compared to the control. This difference was not observed after recovery phases, however, which did not counteract the enhanced energy demand for detoxification and defense mechanisms indicated by a lower growth rate (up to ~20%) and lipid content (up to ~30%) of damselflies at 50 and 250ng LCH L−1. In addition, two essential fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid and arachidonic acid) and two precursors (linolenic acid and α-linolenic acid) decreased in their concentrations upon exposure towards 250ng LCH L−1. Thus the results of this study indicate that long-term exposure towards LCH pulses can affect damselfly behavior, physiology and survival. Given the essential role of damselflies in food web dynamics, these effects may potentially translate into local population impairments with subsequent bottom-up directed effects within and across ecosystem boundaries.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2017
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