Gray bats died with lethal brain concentrations of dieldrin and rising levels of heptachlor epoxide in 1976, 1977, and 1978 at Bat Caves No. 2-3, Franklin County, Missouri. The colony disappeared in 1979. Dieldrin was banned in 1974 and 1981 was the last year for heptachlor use in Missouri. The State is recommendiing three organophosphates (chlorpyrifos or Dursban, dyfonate or Fonophos, and ethoprop or Mocap) as substitutes for heptachlor. All three compounds have excellent records in the environment. Analyses of insects collected where bats of this colony fed showed beetles, particularly rove beetles (Staphylinidae), to be the most heavily contaminated part of the bat's diet. Lactation concentrated these residues so that levels in milk were approximately 30 times those in the insect diet. Gray bats found dead in caves in northern Alabama showed DDD (a DDT derivative) contamination. Bats from the colony at Cave Springs Cave on the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge contained up to 29 ppm DDD in their brains, but this is probably less than one-half the lethal level. Bats from other colonies contained less. The DDD contamination enters the Terinessee River just above the Wheeler Refuge and is seen in gray bat colonies as far as 60 miles downriver.
Additional publication details
Gray bats and pollution in Missouri and northern Alabama