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Environ Pollut. 1989;59(3):203-25.

Side-effects of pesticides on ground-dwelling predatory arthropods in arable ecosystems.

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  • 1Department of Toxicology, Agricultural University, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The effects of above ground applications of pesticides in field crops on the epigeal predator fauna in the Lake Yssel polders in The Netherlands was assessed during a 20-month period by means of pitfall trapping in 17 commercially farmed fields and in one experimental field. The pesticides used during this period were the herbicides 2,4-D-amine and MCPA/MCPP and the insecticides deltamethrin, fenitrothion, and bromophos-ethyl. Deposition of the spray on the soil was determined. Bioassays were carried out in the fields in two cases. Of the taxa identified, i.e. staphylinids, carabids and spiders, the erigonid and linyphiid spiders appeared to be sensitive to the three insecticides. Long-term effects, however, could not be demonstrated. No effect was observed from the herbicide applications. Fields which were mechanically treated against weeds had a lower species diversity than chemically treated fields. Ploughing had a detrimental effect on the spiders. The effect of deltamethrin appeared to depend on weather conditions. At higher temperatures the effect was stronger than at lower temperatures, and no effects could be observed under rainy conditions. A guild of five species, i.e. Erigone atra, E. dentipalpis, Oedothorax apicatus, Meioneta rurestris and Bathyphantes gracilis, is recommended as an indicator for early detection of side-effects of insecticides on the epigeal predator fauna.

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