Adult female free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) were collected at Bracken Cave, Texas, and shipped to the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Treated mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) containing 107 ppm DDE were fed to 17 bats; five other bats were fed untreated mealworms. After 40 days on dosage, during which one dosed bat was killed accidentally, four dosed bats were frozen and the remaining 17 were starved to death. The objective was to elevate brain levels of DDE to lethality and measure these concentrations. After the feeding period, dosed bats weighed less than controls. After starvation, the body condition of dosed bats was poorer than that of controls even though there was no difference in the amounts of carcass fat. During starvation, dosed bats lost weight faster than controls. Also, four dosed bats exhibited the prolonged tremoring that characterizes DDE poisoning. DDE increased in brains of starving bats as fat was metabolized. The estimated mean brain concentration of DDE diagnostic of death was 519 ppm with a range of 458-564 ppm. These values resemble diagnostic levels known for two species of passerine birds, but they exceed published levels for two free-tailed bats from Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico.
Additional publication details
Effects of DDE on experimentally poisoned free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis): Lethal brain concentrations