The effects of neonicotinoid exposure on embryonic development and organ mass in northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus)
Authors: Amanda Gobeli, Dane Crossley II, Jeff Johnson, Kelly Reyna
Since their emergence in the early 1990s, neonicotinoid use has increased exponentially to make them the world's most prevalent insecticides. Although there has been considerable research concerning the lethality of neonicotinoids, their sub-lethal and developmental effects are still being explored, especially with regard to non-mammalian species. The goal of this research was to investigate the effects of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid on the morphological and physiological development of northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus). Bobwhite eggs (n = 390) were injected with imidacloprid concentrations of 0 (sham), 10, 50, 100, and 150 mg/kg of egg mass, which was administered at day 0 (pre-incubation), 3, 6, 9, or 12 of growth. Embryos were dissected, weighed, staged, and examined for any overt structural deformities after 19 days of incubation. The mass of the embryonic heart, liver, lungs and kidneys was also recorded. The majority of treatments produced no discernible differences in embryo morphology; however, in some instances, embryos were subject to increased frequency of anatomical deformity and altered organ masses. Some impacts were more pronounced in specific dosing periods, implying that there may be critical windows of development when embryos are more susceptible to neonicotinoid exposure. This investigation suggests that imidacloprid has the potential to impact bobwhite quail embryonic development and chick survival.