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Aged pesticide residues are detrimental to agrobiont spiders (Araneae)


S. Pekár (corresponding author), Department of Botany and Zoology, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, 61137, Brno, Czech Republic. E-mail:


Spiders are among the most abundant arthropods in agroecosystems, playing an important role as natural enemies of various pests. In this study we evaluated residual activity of selected pesticides on the mortality and behaviour of four spider species (Dictyna uncinata, Pardosa palustris, Philodromus cespitum and Theridion impressum). We used three pesticides: a herbicide Command (clomazone), and insecticides Decis (deltamethrin) and Nurelle (chlorpyrifos and cypermethrin). Mortality was recorded after exposure of spiders to fresh (2-h), 5, 10, 15 and 20-day-old residues. For each residue mortality was evaluated after 24–72 h. Residual effect differed between preparations and, in some cases, between spiders. All of the Nurelle residues (fresh to 20-day-old) caused 100% mortality in all spider species. Residues of Command were rather harmless (causing <20% mortality) to all spider species as the herbicide activity declined with age. Residues of Decis had species-specific effects as the mortality varied between 0 and 90%. In Dictyna the mortality gradually declined with the age of residues, while in Pardosa the mortality increased. In Philodromus and Theridion the mortality declined up to 10-day-old residues and then increased so that 20-day-old residues caused almost as high mortality as the new ones. Exposure to pesticide residues immediately affected the movement of Pardosa spiders. Residues of Decis and Nurelle decreased spider locomotion, while those of Command increased locomotion in comparison with the control. In another experiment, we studied repellence of fresh pesticide residues to Pardosa spiders. In comparison with the control, spiders stayed a similar time on the surface treated with Command, but four times less on Decis and nine times less on Nurelle-treated surfaces, respectively. In conclusion, aged insecticide residues possess a high activity and can cause long-term decline in the abundance and prolonged behavioural disturbance of spiders in agroecosystems.

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