Coturnix quail (Coturnix coturnix) chicks were given sublethal amounts of chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, DDE, Ceresan M, or Aroclor 1254 (a polychlorinated biphenyl) in their feed, beginning at seven days of age, and their avoidance response to a moving silhouette was measured daily for fourteen days. The birds were on dosage for eight days, and on untreated feed for six days immediately thereafter. Group avoidance response was significantly suppressed (P from 0?01 to <0?001) by chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, Ceresan M, and Aroclor 1254. No effect of DDE on the birds' behaviour could be detected. The behaviour of the endrin-treated birds returned to normal after two days on untreated feed. The data indicated partial recovery for birds treated with dieldrin and chlordane, but none for those Ceresan M, or Aroclor 1254. The percentage of controls responding to the silhouette dropped from an average of 84 for the first four days to 70 on the sixth day; then it increased until the end of the test when it was almost 80. This apparently aberrant behaviour of healthy birds is tentatively attributed to a daily decrease in the discrepancy between the moving silhouette and the birds' schema for the silhouette, followed by maturation of the central nervous system, beginning at about the fourteenth day of age. We believe this maturation effected revival of interest and hence a heightened reaction to the stimulus.
Additional publication details
The effect of sublethal dosages of five pesticides and a polychlorinated biphenyl on the avoidance response of coturnix quail chicks