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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2014 Jan;33(1):102-6. doi: 10.1002/etc.2393.

Toxicity of pesticides associated with potato production, including soil fumigants, to snapping turtle eggs (Chelydra serpentina).

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Wildlife and Landscape Science Directorate, Environment Canada, Burlington, Ontario, Canada.


Turtles frequently oviposit in soils associated with agriculture and, thus, may be exposed to pesticides or fertilizers. The toxicity of a pesticide regime that is used for potato production in Ontario on the survivorship of snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) eggs was evaluated. The following treatments were applied to clean soil: 1) a mixture of the pesticides chlorothalonil, S-metolachlor, metribuzin, and chlorpyrifos, and 2) the soil fumigant metam sodium. Turtle eggs were incubated in soil in outdoor plots in which these mixtures were applied at typical and higher field application rates, where the eggs were subject to ambient temperature and weather conditions. The pesticide mixture consisting of chlorothalonil, S-metolachlor, metribuzin, and chlorpyrifos did not affect survivorship, deformities, or body size at applications up to 10 times the typical field application rates. Hatching success ranged between 87% and 100% for these treatments. Metam sodium was applied at 0.1¯ times, 0.3¯ times, 1 times, and 3 times field application rates. Eggs exposed to any application of metam sodium had 100% mortality. At typical field application rates, the chemical regime associated with potato production does not appear to have any detrimental impacts on turtle egg development, except for the use of the soil fumigant metam sodium, which is highly toxic to turtle eggs at the lowest recommended application rate.


Contaminant; Pesticide; Soil toxicology; Toxic effect; Wildlife toxicology

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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