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The toxicity of Roundup Original Max® to 13 species of larval amphibians



With the increased use of glyphosate-based herbicides (marketed under several names, including Roundup® and Vision®), there has been a concomitant increased concern about the unintended impacts that particular formulations containing the popular surfactant polyethoxylated tallowamine (POEA) might have on amphibians. Published studies have examined a relatively small number of anuran species (primarily from Australia and eastern North America) and, surprisingly, no species of salamanders. Using a popular formulation of glyphosate (Roundup Original Max®), the goal of the present study was to conduct tests of lethal concentrations estimated to kill 50% of a population after 96 h (LC5096-h) on a wider diversity of species from both eastern and western North America. Tests were conducted on nine species of stage 25, larval anurans from three families (Ranidae: Rana pipiens, R. clamitans, R. sylvatica, R. catesbeiana, R. cascadae; Bufonidae: Bufo americanus, B. boreas; and Hylidae: Hyla versicolor, Pseudacris crucifer) and four species of larval salamanders from two families (Ambystomatidae: Ambystoma gracile, A. maculatum, A. laterale; and Salamandridae: Notophthalmus viridescens). For the nine species of larval anurans, LC5096-h values ranged from 0.8- to 2.0-mg acid equivalents per liter with relatively little pattern in differential sensitivity among the species or families. The four species of larval salamanders were less sensitive than the anurans, with LC5096-h values ranging from 2.7- to 3.2-mg acid equivalents per liter and no substantial differences among the species of salamanders. This work substantially increases the available data on amphibian sensitivity to glyphosate formulations that include either POEA surfactants or the equally moderately to highly toxic surfactants of Roundup Original Max and should be useful for improving future risk assessments.

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