Published: Jan 1981
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Diazinon was fed at sublethal levels to reproductively active bobwhite (Colinus virginianus). Thirty pairs were given constant concentrations (0, 35, 50, 72, 104, or 150 ppm) for 3 weeks (Constant group). Another 30 pairs (Pair-fed group) were matched to these by body weights and were fed the amounts of untreated food consumed by corresponding Constant pairs to evaluate the effect of food deprivation. To mimic environmental degradation, a group of 30 pairs (Decreasing group) was initially given diazinon at the same concentrations as the Constant group; the concentration was decreased geometrically every 3 days to yield a 50 percent reduction in 15 days. Following 3 weeks of exposure to the experimental diets, pairs were maintained for an additional 3 weeks on untreated food to measure the birds' recovery. Food consumption, egg production, and hatchability were recorded for each pair. Individually hatched chicks were banded and kept for 2 weeks to monitor their survival. Food consumption was negatively dose-related above 35 ppm in the Constant and Decreasing groups. The only reproductive parameter affected was egg production. Production declined as the dose was increased above 35 ppm in the Constant and Decreasing groups. Egg laying was reduced more in the Constant than in the Decreasing pairs. The egg-laying rate of the Constant and Pair-fed groups differed; this difference was reflected by a threshold corresponding to 72 ppm in the Pair-fed group as opposed to 35 ppm in the Constant group. Residual effects of prior treatment on food consumption and egg production were observed in the Constant and Pair-fed pairs during the posttreatment period, but the Decreasing pairs were not influenced by prior treatment. The magnitude of effects related to the dose was not as great during the posttreatment period as during the treatment period and represented the recovery from diazinon effects over the span of the posttreatment period. The schedule of doses for the Decreasing group ameliorated the deleterious effects of diazinon, whereas the dosing schedule for the Constant group yielded a small overestimation of hazard to wildlife.
birds, reproduction, organophosphates, half-life, wildlife, toxicology, diazinon
Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, Md.