A sublethal concentration of Sulfoxaflor has minimal impact on buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) locomotor behaviour under aversive conditioning

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

James, L., Reynolds, A. M., Mellor, I. R. and Davies, T. G. E. 2023. A sublethal concentration of Sulfoxaflor has minimal impact on buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) locomotor behaviour under aversive conditioning. Toxics. 11 (3), p. 279. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11030279

AuthorsJames, L., Reynolds, A. M., Mellor, I. R. and Davies, T. G. E.
Abstract

Pesticide exposure has been cited as a key threat to insect pollinators. Notably, a diverse range of potential sublethal effects have been reported in bee species, with a particular focus on effects due to exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides. Here, a purpose-built thermal–visual arena was used in a series of pilot experiments to assess the potential impact of approximate sublethal concentrations of the next generation sulfoximine insecticide sulfoxaflor (5 and 50 ppb) and the neonicotinoid insecticides thiacloprid (500 ppb) and thiamethoxam (10 ppb), on the walking trajectory, navigation and learning abilities of the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris audax) when subjected to an aversive conditioning task. The results suggest that only thiamethoxam prevents forager bees from improving in key training parameters (speed and distanced travelled) within the thermal visual arena. Power law analyses further revealed that a speed–curvature power law, previously reported as being present in the walking trajectories of bumblebees, is potentially disrupted under thiamethoxam (10 ppb) exposure, but not under sulfoxaflor or thiacloprid exposure. The pilot assay described provides a novel tool with which to identify subtle sublethal pesticide impacts, and their potential causes, on forager bees, that current ecotoxicological tests are not designed to assess.

KeywordsBee; Pesticide; Bumblebee; Behaviour; Learning; Sulfoximine; Neonicotinoid; Aversive; Power law
Year of Publication2023
JournalToxics
Journal citation11 (3), p. 279
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11030279
Web address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2305-6304/11/3/279
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeDoctoral Training Grant
Publisher's version
Copyright license
CC BY 4.0
Supplemental file
Supplemental file
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online18 Mar 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted16 Mar 2023
PublisherMDPI
ISSN2305-6304

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