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Pyrethroids and Nectar Toxins Have Subtle Effects on the Motor Function, Grooming and Wing Fanning Behaviour of Honeybees (Apis mellifera)

Pyrethroids and Nectar Toxins Have Subtle Effects on the Motor Function, Grooming and Wing Fanning Behaviour of Honeybees (Apis mellifera)

Oliver, Caitlin J, Softely, Samantha, Williamson, Sally M, Stevenson, Philip ORCID: 0000-0002-0736-3619 and Wright, Geraldine A (2015) Pyrethroids and Nectar Toxins Have Subtle Effects on the Motor Function, Grooming and Wing Fanning Behaviour of Honeybees (Apis mellifera). PLoS One, 10 (8):e0133733. ISSN 1932-6203 (Print), 1932-6203 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0133733)

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Abstract

Sodium channels, found ubiquitously in animal muscle cells and neurons, are one of the main target sites of many naturally-occurring, insecticidal plant compounds and agricultural pesticides. Pyrethroids, derived from compounds found only in the Asteraceae, are particularly toxic to insects and have been successfully used as pesticides including on flowering crops that are visited by pollinators. Pyrethrins, from which they were derived, occur naturally in the nectar of some flowering plant species. We know relatively little about how such compounds—i.e., compounds that target sodium channels—influence pollinators at low or sub-lethal doses. Here, we exposed individual adult forager honeybees to several compounds that bind to sodium channels to identify whether these compounds affect motor function. Using an assay previously developed to identify the effect of drugs and toxins on individual bees, we investigated how acute exposure to 10 ng doses (1 ppm) of the pyrethroid insecticides (cyfluthrin, tau-fluvalinate, allethrin and permethrin) and the nectar toxins (aconitine and grayanotoxin I) affected honeybee locomotion, grooming and wing fanning behaviour. Bees exposed to these compounds spent more time upside down and fanning their wings. They also had longer bouts of standing still. Bees exposed to the nectar toxin, aconitine, and the pyrethroid, allethrin, also spent less time grooming their antennae. We also found that the concentration of the nectar toxin, grayanotoxin I (GTX), fed to bees affected the time spent upside down (i.e., failure to perform the righting reflex). Our data show that low doses of pyrethroids and other nectar toxins that target sodium channels mainly influence motor function through their effect on the righting reflex of adult worker honeybees.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015 Oliver et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Uncontrolled Keywords: Honeybee, Pyrethroids, Nectar, Toxins
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2016 10:59
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/13837

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