We studied exposure of breeding white-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica) to anticholinesterase compounds (organophosphorus and carbamate pesticides) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV), Texas. Widespread use of organophosphorus pesticides and dove population declines prompted the study. We collected breeding adult doves in May and July 1991 (n = 28) and July 1992 (n = 33) at 6 locations. We used depression of whole-brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity (2 SD below control mean) to detect exposure; values from 4 hand-reared doves fed commercial pigeon chow served as the control. Mean brain ChE activity was lower (P lt 0.027) than the control sample at all 6 locations in 1991; 79% of the birds were diagnostic of exposure ( gt 16.1% ChE depression). Pooled 1992 field samples also were lower (P lt 0.036) than were control samples; doves from 4 of the 6 locations had brain ChE activity below (P lt 0.088) controls. Overall, 39% of 1992 doves were diagnostic of exposure to anticholinesterase compounds. Higher exposure rates in 1991 were probably due to increased use of organophosphorus pesticides. Research is needed documenting effects of sublethal exposure on white-winged dove productivity.
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Anticholinesterase exposure of white-winged doves breeding in lower Rio Grande valley, Texas