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Use of butterflies as nontarget insect test species and the acute toxicity and hazard of mosquito control insecticides

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Errata

This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum: Use of butterflies as nontarget insect test species and the acute toxicity and hazard of mosquito control insecticides Volume 30, Issue 7, 1730, Article first published online: 13 May 2011

Abstract

Honeybees are the standard insect test species used for toxicity testing of pesticides on nontarget insects for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Butterflies are another important insect order and a valued ecological resource in pollination. The current study conducted acute toxicity tests with naled, permethrin, and dichlorvos on fifth larval instar (caterpillars) and adults of different native Florida, USA, butterfly species to determine median lethal doses (24-h LD50), because limited acute toxicity data are available with this major insect group. Thorax- and wing-only applications of each insecticide were conducted. Based on LD50s, thorax and wing application exposures were acutely toxic to both caterpillars and adults. Permethrin was the most acutely toxic insecticide after thorax exposure to fifth instars and adult butterflies. However, no generalization on acute toxicity (sensitivity) of the insecticides could be concluded based on exposures to fifth instars versus adult butterflies or on thorax versus wing exposures of adult butterflies. A comparison of LD50s of the butterflies from this study (caterpillars and adults) with honeybee LD50s for the adult mosquito insecticides on a µg/organism or µg/g basis indicates that several butterfly species are more sensitive to these insecticides than are honeybees. A comparison of species sensitivity distributions for all three insecticides shows that permethrin had the lowest 10th percentile. Using a hazard quotient approach indicates that both permethrin and naled applications in the field may present potential acute hazards to butterflies, whereas no acute hazard of dichlorvos is apparent in butterflies. Butterflies should be considered as potential test organisms when nontarget insect testing of pesticides is suggested under FIFRA. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:997–1005. © 2010 SETAC

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