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Bull Entomol Res. 2007 Apr;97(2):129-38.

Effects of avermectin residues in cattle dung on yellow dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria (Diptera: Scathophagidae) populations in grazed pastures.

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Land Economy and Environment Research Group, Scottish Agricultural College, Auchincruive, Ayr, KA6 5HW, UK.


The effects of avermectin exposure on natural populations of the yellow dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria Linnaeus, were investigated at the field scale on farms in south-west Scotland. Pastures forming the focus of the study were grazed with either untreated cattle or cattle receiving standard, manufacturer-recommended treatment regimes of an avermectin product. Flies were sampled between April and July in 2002 and 2003 using dung-baited pitfall traps. Abundance and wing asymmetry in S. stercoraria populations were examined in relation to a range of environmental and management variables (including avermectin exposure, pasture management intensity, weather and season). Data used for abundance analyses were collected in fields where treated cattle had been dosed with either doramectin or ivermectin, while the data for the asymmetry analyses were from a subset of fields where treated cattle had been dosed with doramectin only. While abundance of S. stercoraria varied significantly between years and with season, there was no difference in their abundance between fields grazed by avermectin-treated or untreated cattle. Asymmetry was significantly higher in fly populations in fields grazed by doramectin-treated cattle, suggesting that exposure to doramectin during development could have imposed some degree of environmental stress. While these results suggest that exposure to doramectin residues in dung on grazed pastures may have sublethal effects on the insects developing in that dung, there was no evident avermectin effect on the abundance of adult S. stercoraria occurring in the pastures.

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