Suspected side effects of a herbicide on dung beetle populations (Coleoptera : Scarabaeidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:I. M. Martinez, Lumaret, J. P., Cruz, M. R.
Journal:Comptes Rendus De L Academie Des Sciences Serie Iii-Sciences De La Vie-Life Sciences
Date Published:Nov
Accession Number:ISI:000172159700003
Keywords:2, 4-D, herbicide, Mortality, neotropical pasture, Scarabaeidae, sterility, Tordon((R)), weed control

This paper addresses the association between use of a herbicide and anecdotal reports of reduced dung degradation and dung beetle populations. Dung beetles were monthly collected at two adjacent ranches in Mexico. Ranches were similar in area, elevation, exposition, soil, and vegetation, but differed in weed control. Ranch A controlled weeds manually, and ranch B controlled unwanted vegetation with applications of the herbicide Tordon(R)101M. The main species recovered on each ranch (Ataenius apicalis) was significantly more abundant at ranch A than at ranch B. Conversely, similar numbers of a second species, Ataenius sculptor, were recovered from both ranches. Three lines of evidence support the tentative conclusion that herbicide applications may be causing a decline in populations of A. apicalis on ranch B. First, the greatest reductions of A. apicalis were observed during periods of herbicide application. Second, A. sculptor, apparently little affected by these same herbicide applications, is active primarily during months without herbicide applications. Third, preliminary results of laboratory studies show that exposure to herbicide can impair reproductive function of the dung beetle Canthon cyanellus. (C) 2001 Academie des Sciences/Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS.

URL:<Go to ISI>://000172159700003
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