Navigation Links
Commonly used herbicides seen as threat to endangered butterflies
Date:3/7/2012

PUYALLUP, Wash.A Washington State University toxicologist has found that three commonly used herbicides can dramatically reduce butterfly populations.

The research was aimed at possible effects on the Lange's metalmark, an endangered species in northern California, but it has implications for other at-risk and endangered butterflies wherever herbicides are used, says John Stark, an ecotoxicologist and director of the WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center.

Stark and his colleagues tested triclopyr, sethoxydim and imazapyr on butterfly larvae at the request of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which uses the herbicides to maintain habitat for the Lange's metalmark in its last habitat, the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge in northern California. The researchers used the Behr's metalmark as a proxy for the Lange's metalmark, whose endangered status precludes using it for tests.

The researchers found adult numbers of the Behr's metalmark butterfly dropped by one-fourth to more than one-third when their larvae were exposed to regularly applied rates of the herbicides.

In a small population of endangered animals, says Stark, "any kind of reduction like that is going to be a problem."

While the dunes may have harbored 25,000 Lange's metalmarks 50 to 100 years ago, damage to the dunes reduced the population to 5,000 by 1972 and as low as 45 in 2006.

Key to the butterfly's survival is the naked stem buckwheat plant, which is easily overgrown by the non-native plants ripgut brome, vetch and yellow starthistle.

Refuge managers have tried to weed by hand but the process risks disturbing the buckwheat plants and butterfly eggs and larvae. And when the refuge managers started spraying the plants with herbicides, they noticed the butterfly populations were dropping even more, says Stark.

The study, funded by the Fish and Wildlife Service and published in the journal Environmental Pollution, is one of the first to document the effects of herbicides on butterflies. Several studies have shown herbicides can adversely affect animal life, even though they are designed to kill plants.

Each of the three herbicides in the Stark study operate differently, leading the researchers to think butterflies are being affected by inert ingredients or an effect on the butterflies' food source.


'/>"/>

Contact: John Stark
starkj@wsu.edu
253-445-4519
Washington State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. A sleep strategy commonly used by night nurses throws off their circadian clocks
2. The first DNA barcodes of commonly traded bushmeat are published
3. Feasibility of using mycoherbicides to control illicit drug crops is uncertain
4. Which direction are herbicides heading?
5. How grass buffers keep agricultural herbicides at bay
6. Common herbicides and fibrates block nutrient-sensing receptor found in gut and pancreas
7. Understanding how weeds are resistant to herbicides
8. Nowhere to hide: Study finds future of Sumatran tigers threatened by human disturbances
9. World nourishment at risk of being diminished: Wild cereals threatened by global warming
10. Irish mammals under serious threat from invasional meltdown
11. Climate change threatens tropical birds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/15/2017)... 15 2017   ivWatch LLC , a medical device company ... today announced receipt of its ISO 13485 Certification, the global standard ... Organization for Standardization (ISO®). ... Model 400 Continuous Monitoring device for the early detection of IV ... "This is an important milestone for ...
(Date:6/30/2017)... ARLINGTON, Va. , June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... a leading developer and supplier of face and ... the ATA Featured Product provider program. ... created an innovative way to monitor a driver,s ... benefit greatly from being able to detect fatigue ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... PARIS , June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ... the international tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups ... on June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will ... deliver value in various industries. ... in the international market, with a 30 percent increase in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... wash is a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but most personal eye ... first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, and likely quicker ... eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or alkali, getting anything ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support solutions, has announced ... network, which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs will ... to enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer education ... professionals to help women who have been diagnosed and are ... ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A new study published in ... and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched ... , After comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that give it exclusive global ... technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Additionally, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: