Neonicotinoid pesticides can reduce honeybee colony genetic diversity

Forfert, Nadège; Troxler, Aline; Retschnig, Gina; Gauthier, Laurent; Straub, Lars; Moritz, Robin F. A.; Neumann, Peter; Williams, Geoffrey Rhys; Rueppell, Olav (2017). Neonicotinoid pesticides can reduce honeybee colony genetic diversity. PLoS ONE, 12(10), e0186109. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0186109

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Neonicotinoid insecticides can cause a variety of adverse sub-lethal effects in bees. In social species such as the honeybee, Apis mellifera, queens are essential for reproduction and colony functioning. Therefore, any negative effect of these agricultural chemicals on the mating success of queens may have serious consequences for the fitness of the entire colony. Queens were exposed to the common neonicotinoid pesticides thiamethoxam and clothianidin during their developmental stage. After mating, their spermathecae were dissected to count the number of stored spermatozoa. Furthermore, their worker offspring were genotyped with DNA microsatellites to determine the number of matings and the genotypic composition of the colony. Colonies providing the male mating partners were also inferred. Both neonicotinoid and control queens mated with drones originating from the same drone source colonies, and stored similar number of spermatozoa. However, queens reared in colonies exposed to both neonicotinoids experienced fewer matings. This resulted in a reduction of the genetic diversity in their colonies (i.e. higher intracolonial relatedness). As decreased genetic diversity among worker bees is known to negatively affect colony vitality, neonicotinoids may have a cryptic effect on colony health by reducing the mating frequency of queens.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Institute of Bee Health

UniBE Contributor:

Troxler, Aline; Retschnig, Gina; Straub, Lars; Neumann, Peter and Williams, Geoffrey Rhys

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Anna Papach

Date Deposited:

22 May 2018 15:15

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2019 21:44

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0186109

PubMed ID:

29059234

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.113632

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/113632

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