Toxicity of four veterinary parasiticides on larvae of the dung beetle Aphodius constans in the laboratory



The environmental risk assessment of veterinary pharmaceuticals for dung beetles is strongly hampered because no standardized test method is available so far. Therefore, a test with the temperate dung beetle species Aphodius constans was developed. The survival of beetle larvae was determined after exposure to four veterinary parasitical pharmaceuticals (ivermectin, moxidectin, dicyclanil, and praziquantel) representing different treatment regimes, modes of action, and effect levels. The test was performed in the laboratory (three week duration) with fresh dung, as well as formulated (dried, ground, and rewetted) dung as test substrate (i.e., at least one range-finding test, two definitive test runs per pharmaceutical). Ivermectin was the most toxic substance (median lethal concentration [LC50] = 0.88–0.98 mg of active substance per kilogram of dung dry weight [mg a.s./kg dung (dry wt)] followed by dicyclanil (LC50 = 1.5–6.0 mg a.s./kg dung [dry wt]) and moxidectin (LC50 = 4.0–5.4 mg a.s./kg dung [dry wt]), whereas praziquantel showed very low toxicity (LC50 > 1,000 mg a.s./kg dung [dry wt]). The toxicity in fresh and formulated dung differed by a factor of between 1.1 and 4. The comparison with literature data on toxic effects of these substances on dung beetles in the laboratory or in the field is difficult because no results for praziquantel and dicyclanil have been published so far. With the use of data from ivermectin and moxidectin, the test results are on the same order of magnitude as those known from other studies. On the basis of the experiments reported here, it is recommended that this test be standardized in an international ring test so that it can be incorporated into the risk assessment process as described in the respective international guidelines for the registration of veterinary pharmaceuticals.