Neonicotinoid insecticides can serve as inadvertent insect contraceptives

Straub, Lars; Villamar Bouza, Laura; Bruckner, Selina; Chantawannakul, Panuwan; Gauthier, Laurent; Khongphinitbunjong, Kitiphong; Retschnig, Gina; Troxler, Aline Marie; Vidondo Curras, Beatriz; Neumann, Peter; Williams, Geoffrey Rhys (2016). Neonicotinoid insecticides can serve as inadvertent insect contraceptives. Proceedings of the Royal Society. Series B - biological sciences, 283(1835), p. 20160506. Royal Society of London 10.1098/rspb.2016.0506

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There is clear evidence for sublethal effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on non-target ecosystem service-providing insects. However, their possible impact on male insect reproduction is currently unknown, despite the key role of sex. Here, we show that two neonicotinoids (4.5 ppb thiamethoxam and 1.5 ppb clothianidin) significantly reduce the reproductive capacity of male honeybees (drones), Apis mellifera. Drones were obtained from colonies exposed to the neonicotinoid insecticides or controls, and subsequently maintained in laboratory cages until they reached sexual maturity. While no significant effects were observed for male teneral (newly emerged adult) body mass and sperm quantity, the data clearly showed reduced drone lifespan, as well as reduced sperm viability (percentage living versus dead) and living sperm quantity by 39%. Our results demonstrate for the first time that neonicotinoid insecticides can negatively affect male insect reproductive capacity, and provide a possible mechanistic explanation formanaged honeybee queen failure and wild insect pollinator decline. The widespread prophylactic use of neonicotinoids may have previously overlooked inadvertent contraceptive effects on non-target insects, thereby limiting conservation efforts.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Straub, Lars; Villamar Bouza, Laura; Bruckner, Selina; Chantawannakul, Panuwan; Retschnig, Gina; Troxler, Aline Marie; Vidondo Curras, Beatriz; Neumann, Peter and Williams, Geoffrey Rhys

Subjects:

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

ISSN:

0962-8452

Publisher:

Royal Society of London

Language:

English

Submitter:

Geoffrey Rhys Williams

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2016 13:44

Last Modified:

04 Oct 2016 13:44

Publisher DOI:

10.1098/rspb.2016.0506

PubMed ID:

27466446

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.88939

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/88939

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