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Dimethoate, fenvalerate and their mixture affects Hylyphantes graminicola (Araneae: Linyphiidae) adults and their unexposed offspring


Grant C. Hose. Tel.: +61 (0)2 9850 6296; fax: +61 (0)2 9850 8245; e-mail:


  • 1Mixtures of organophosphorus and pyrethroid insecticides are widely used to combat resistance in agricultural pests, although few studies have been conducted on the effects of pesticide mixtures on beneficial nontarget organisms.
  • 2In the present study, we exposed adult females (F0) of Hylyphantes graminicola (Araneae: Linyphiidae) to fenvalerate, dimethoate and their commercially available 1 : 1 mixture (by mass). We investigated the acute toxicity of these pesticides to the exposed adults, as well as sublethal effects on reproduction and acetylcholinesterase and carboxylesterase activity. We also studied the effects of parental exposure on the size, development and enzyme activity of unexposed offspring.
  • 3All three formulations were acutely toxic to H. graminicola, with synergism between dimethoate and fenvalerate leading to greater toxicity in the 1 : 1 mixture than for the two insecticides alone. The sublethal effects of direct pesticide exposure were a reduction in acetylcholinesterase and carboxylesterase activity and a reduction in the number of egg sacs produced by exposed spiders relative to the control spiders. The unexposed offspring of the fenvalerate and mixture exposed spiders were smaller and took longer to mature than the control spiders. Offspring of all exposed spiders also had significantly reduced carboxylesterase activity relative to control spiders.
  • 4We concluded that the effects of parental exposure on the offspring were likely to increase their susceptibility to future pesticide exposures, and reduce the capacity of this spider to serve as a pest control agent.