Moths were collected with a light trap from 15 sites in the Baltimore, Maryland - Washington, D.C. area and analyzed for organochlorine pesticide residues. On the average, the species sampled contained 0.33 ppm heptachlor-chlordane compounds, 0.25 ppm DDE, and 0.11 ppm dieldrin. There were large differences in the concentrations detected in different species. Concentrations were especially high in moths whose larvae were cutworms, and were virtually absent from moths whose larvae fed on tree leaves. It was concluded that at least some species sampled could be an important source of insecticides to insectivorous wildlife. In some instances moths may be useful indicators of environmental contamination, especially when insectivorous wildlife species cannot be collected. However, the differences in residues observed among species means that only similar species should be compared, and this limits their potential for monitoring.
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Organochlorine pesticide residues in moths from the Baltimore, MD-Washington, DC area