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ESR prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01091

Exposure to permethrin or chlorpyrifos causes differential dose- and time-dependent behavioral effects at early larval stages of an endangered teleost species

Paige C. Mundy, Kara E. Huff Hartz, Corie A. Fulton, Michael J. Lydy, Susanne M. Brander, Tien-Chieh Hung, Nann Fangue, Richard E. Connon

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ABSTRACT: Pyrethroid and organophosphate pesticides are two of the most commonly used classes of insecticides worldwide. At sublethal concentrations, permethrin (a pyrethroid) and chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate) impact behavior in model fish species. We investigated the behavioral effects of environmentally relevant concentrations of permethrin or chlorpyrifos on early larval Delta smelt Hypomesus transpacificus, a critically endangered teleost species endemic to the San Francisco Bay Delta, California, USA. Using a photomotor behavioral assay of oscillating light and dark periods, we measured distance moved, turn angle, meander, angular velocity, rotations, thigmotaxis (time spent in the border versus center), and swim speed duration and frequency. The lowest concentrations of permethrin used in the tests (0.05 µg l–1 and 0.5 µg l–1), caused significant increases in distance moved at 72 and 96 h, respectively. At 48, 72, and 96 h of exposure, 5 µg l–1 of permethrin caused a hyperactive state in which the larvae significantly decreased thigmotaxis, quickly turning in short bouts of activity, characterized by significant increases in rotations and freezing events. Larvae exposed to 0.05 µg l–1 chlorpyrifos significantly increased thigmotaxis at 72 and 96 h. In response to 5 µg l–1 chlorpyrifos, larvae significantly increased velocity at 72 h exposure, and significantly increased freezing events at 96 h. Behavioral data on larval Delta smelt exposed to contaminants present in their limited habitat has the potential to aid evaluations of the suitability of spawning and rearing habitats for this endangered species, thus improving conservation management strategies focused on this sensitive life stage.