Scientific Reports, 01 November 2017, Vol.7(1), pp.1-10
Abstract Systemic neonicotinoids are commonly used in forest pest management programs. Senescent leaves containing neonicotinoids may, however, fall from treated trees into nearby streams. There, leaf-shredding invertebrates are particularly exposed due to their diet (feeding on neonicotinoid-contaminated leaves) or collaterally via the water phase (leaching of a neonicotinoid from leaves) – a fact not considered during aquatic environmental risk assessment. To unravel the relevance of these pathways we used leaves from trees treated with the neonicotinoid thiacloprid to subject the amphipod shredder Gammarus fossarum for 21 days (n = 40) either to dietary, waterborne or a combined (dietary + waterborne) exposure. Dietary exposure caused – relative to the control – similar reductions in gammarids’ leaf consumption (~35%) and lipid content (~20%) as observed for the waterborne exposure pathway (30 and 22%). The effect sizes observed under combined exposure suggested additivity of effects being largely predictable using the reference model “independent action”. Since gammarids accumulated – independent of the exposure pathway – up to 280 ng thiacloprid/g, dietary exposure may also be relevant for predators which prey on Gammarus. Consequently, neglecting dietary exposure might underestimate the environmental risk systemic insecticides pose for ecosystem integrity calling for its consideration during the evaluation and registration of chemical stressors.
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