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Biol Lett. 2016 Aug;12(8). pii: 20160475. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0475.

Increasing neonicotinoid use and the declining butterfly fauna of lowland California.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA forister@gmail.com.
2
Western Purple Martin Foundation, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.
3
Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA.
4
Biology Department, Colorado State University, CO, USA.
5
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, USA.
6
Department of Biology, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA.
7
US Geological Survey, California Water Science Center, Sacramento, CA, USA.
8
Biology Department, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
9
Department of Evolution and Ecology, Center for Population Biology, University of California, Davis, USA.

Abstract

The butterfly fauna of lowland Northern California has exhibited a marked decline in recent years that previous studies have attributed in part to altered climatic conditions and changes in land use. Here, we ask if a shift in insecticide use towards neonicotinoids is associated with butterfly declines at four sites in the region that have been monitored for four decades. A negative association between butterfly populations and increasing neonicotinoid application is detectable while controlling for land use and other factors, and appears to be more severe for smaller-bodied species. These results suggest that neonicotinoids could influence non-target insect populations occurring in proximity to application locations, and highlights the need for mechanistic work to complement long-term observational data.

KEYWORDS:

butterflies; global change; insecticide; long-term ecological data; neonicotinoids

PMID:
27531159
PMCID:
PMC5014040
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2016.0475
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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