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Environ Pollut. 2008 Mar;152(1):92-8. Epub 2007 Jul 3.

Effects of repeated exposure to malathion on growth, food consumption, and locomotor performance of the western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis).

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  • 1The University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, SC 29801, USA.


Effects of repeated pollutant exposure on growth, locomotor performance, and behavior have rarely been evaluated in reptiles. We administered three doses of malathion (2.0, 20, or 100mg/kg body weight) to western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) over an 81day period. Eight and 23% mortality occurred at 20 and 100mg/kg (p=0.079) and 85% of lizards in the 100mg/kg group exhibited clinical symptoms of poisoning. Growth, food consumption, body condition index, and terrestrial locomotor performance were not significantly influenced by malathion. However, arboreal sprint velocity was significantly reduced in lizards receiving 100mg/kg. Fifty percent of lizards in the 100mg/kg group also refused to sprint in the arboreal setting (p=0.085). Based on these results, arboreal locomotor performance was the most sensitive metric of exposure we evaluated. Further study of compounds such as malathion is warranted due to highly variable application rates and exposure scenarios.

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