SREL Reprint #2984

 

 

 

Influence of Body Size on Swimming Performance of Four Species of Neonatal Natricine Snakes Acutely Exposed to a Cholinesterase-Inhibiting Pesticide

William A. Hopkins and Christopher T. Winne

Wildlife Ecotoxicology and Physiological Ecology Program, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory,
University of Georgia, Aiken, South Carolina 29802, USA

Abstract: Locomotor performance is an important fitness-related trait in reptiles because of its potential influence on prey capture and predator avoidance. Because cholinesterase-inhibiting pesticides disrupt neuromuscular signaling, reduction in performance seems to be a logical translation of this biochemical disruption to the organism level. In the present study, we compared the swimming performance of four species of natricine snakes acutely exposed to a formulation of carbaryl to determine whether neonatal body size or skin permeability influences responsiveness. Exposure to high concentrations of carbaryl (2.5-5.0 mg/L) resulted in reduced swimming performance in all four species of snakes, and species responded similarly to the pesticide once body size was accounted for allometrically. Using traditional methods in physiological ecology to estimate skin permeability (a parameter that influences the dose of contaminant absorbed), we found that water flux across the integument also scaled allometrically with body surface area and, therefore, was similar among species after controlling for this relationship. We suggest that future studies examining the effects of repeated low-dose exposure to cholinesterase inhibitors on performance parameters will be useful in assessing the ecological significance of our findings.

Keywords: Carbaryl; Evaporative water loss; Reptiles; Snakes; Swimming performance

SREL Reprint #2984

Hopkins, W. A. and C. T. Winne. 2006. Influence of Body Size on Swimming Performance of Four Species of Neonatal Natricine Snakes Acutely Exposed to a Cholinesterase-Inhibiting Pesticide. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 25(5):1208-1213.

To request a reprint

 

 
http://srel.uga.edu www.uga.edu