Controlled experiments were utilized to simulate the stresses on wild birds of breeding condition and of weight loss due to migration. Light conditions in the laboratory were manipulated to produce Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) in breeding condition and not in breeding condition. Within each of these groups, some birds were partially starved before dosage and some were fully fed. Birds were then fed dietary levels of 0, 700, 922, 1214, or 1600 ppm dry weight of p,p?-DDT for a period of 20 days or until death. Birds partially starved before dosage were more susceptible to DDT intoxication than nonstarved ones, and birds not in breeding condition were slightly more so than birds in breeding condition. Similarly, males died earlier than females, and the birds of the lighter weight strain used in the second half of the study died earlier than the birds of the heavier strain used in the first half. The heavier birds of each sex not only survived longer than lighter individuals receiving the same treatments, but they also lost a greater proportion of their weight before death. During the early portion of the dosage period, females in breeding condition were less sensitive to DDT than were females not in breeding condition and males. After 10 days on dosage, however, the cumulative mortality of females in breeding condition rapidly approached that of males and of females not in breeding condition. Food restriction prior to dosage, strains of quail, breeding conditions, and sexes resulted in weight differences and a corresponding accentuation or delay of the effects of the different levels of DDT.
Additional publication details
Toxicity of DDT to Japanese quail as influenced by body weight, breeding condition, and sex