Effects of chronic exposure to thiamethoxam on larvae of the hoverfly Eristalis tenax (Diptera, Syrphidae)

PeerJ. 2018 Jan 17;6:e4258. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4258. eCollection 2018.


There is widespread concern over the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the agro-ecosystem, due in part to their high water solubility which can lead to widespread contamination of non-target areas including standing surface water. Most studies investigating the negative fitness consequences of neonicotinoids have focused on bees, with little research on the impact on other non-target insects. Here we examined the effect of exposure on the aquatic larval stages of the hoverfly Eristalis tenax L. (Diptera: Syrphidae) to a range of concentrations (control, 5, 15, 50, 100 and 500 ppb) of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam; no published studies have thus far examined the effects of neonicotinoids on hoverflies. Survival was significantly lower when exposed to 500 ppb thiamethoxam, but this concentration exceeds that likely to be found in the field. We observed no effect on survival, development or any latent effects on adult activity budgets resulting from exposure to lower concentrations (up to 100 ppb). Our results suggest that E. tenax exposed as larvae to thiamethoxam are unlikely to be negatively impacted by this neonicotinoid under field conditions.

Keywords: Chronic exposure; Larvae; Mortality; Neonicotinoid; Non-target; Pesticide; Syrphidae; Weight.

Grant support

This work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council grant NE/K007106/1. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.