Acute oral (po) and 24-hr percutaneous (perc) LD50 values for 21 common pesticides (19 anticholinesterases, of which 18 were organophosphates, and one was a carbamate; one was an organochlorine central nervous system stimulant; and one was an organonitrogen pneumotoxicant) were determined in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). Three of the pesticides tested were more toxic percutaneously than orally. An index to the percutaneous hazard of a pesticide, the dermal toxicity index (DTI = po LD50/perc LD50 ? 100), was also calculated for each pesticide. These toxicity values in mallards were compared with toxicity data for rats from the literature. Significant positive correlations were found between log po and log percutaneous LD50 values in mallards (r = 0.65, p < 0.01), between log po LD50 values in mallards and in rats (r = 0.71, p < 0.01), and between log DTI values in mallards and in rats (r = 0.52, p < 0.05). Percutaneous toxicity values were not significantly correlated between mallards and rats (r = 0.36, p > 0.10). Variations in percutaneous methodologies are discussed with reference to interspecies variation in toxicity values. It is recommended that a mammalian DTI value approaching 30 be used as a guideline for the initiation of percutaneous toxicity studies in birds, when the po LD50 and/or projected percutaneous LD50 are less than expected field exposure levels.