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Effects of ingestion of pesticide-coated seeds on red-legged partridge survival and reproduction

AuthorsOrtiz-Santaliestra, Manuel E. ; López-Antia, Ana ; Mateo, Rafael
Issue Date2011
CitationXXXth IUGB Congress and Perdix XIII (2011)
AbstractAgrochemicals are proposed as a potential cause for avian declines in agricultural areas from Western Europe. Ingestion of pesticides incorporated into plants or invertebrates may cause death or reduced reproductive success, thus compromising population viability. Cereal seeds, which are an important food source for some species during autumn and late winter, are usually coated with pesticides before sowing. The aim of this study was to analyse the effects of the ingestion of coated seeds by red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa) on survival, reproduction process and chick viability. We tested an insecticide (imidacloprid) and two fungicides (difenoconazole and thiram) at two doses each: a dose corresponding to the recommended for seed coating and another dose twice as high as the recommended one. Each experiment consisted in two groups of six couples of partridges each fed with treated seeds for a 10-day period that concluded 20 days before the beginning of the reproduction. Cages were checked daily for egg-laying monitoring. Eggs were incubated and the following variables were retrieved: clutch size, egg length and width, shell thickness, fecundation and hatching rates, and chick survival and growth (i.e., mass and length) until day 32 after hatching. High concentrations of imidacloprid and thiram caused 58% and 42% mortality, respectively. Sex-dependent lethality was detected for thiram, being males (60% mortality) more affected than females (29% mortality). Fecundation and hatching rates were not altered by pesticide exposure. Egg size and eggshell thickness were significantly reduced by the three pesticides, although only at high doses in the case of thiram. Chick survival was also reduced by the three compounds, with mortality rates >60% at day 32 after hatching in all cases compared to 30% mortality of controls. These observed lagged effects on chick survival suggest a potential for reproduction disruption of coated seed ingestion.
DescriptionResumen del trabajo presentado al XXXth International Union of Game Biologists and Perdix XIII, celebrados en Barcelona (España) del 5 al 9 de septiembre de 2011.
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Comunicaciones congresos
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