The 24-h LD50 of Orhene (active ingredient acephate, acetylphosphoramidothioic acid o,s-dimethyl ester, CAS 30560-19-1) to little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) was high (> 1,500 mg acephate/kg) and at least several times greater than the LD50 for mice (Mus musculus) (720 mg/kg). Twenty-four hours after dosing, all surviving mice appeared behaviorally normal, but 9 of 30 surviving bats could not right themselves when placed on their backs. When dead and incapacitated bats were combined to calculate an ED50 (median effective dose), the resultant estimate (687 mg/kg) did not differ (p > 0.05) from the LD50 for mice. Serum cholinesterase (ChE) activity in control bats was 3.2 times greater than in mice. The relationship between the naturally high level of ChE and the relative tolerance of bats to organophosphorus insecticides is unexplained. Toxicity of Orthene was clearly less than that reported elsewhere for methyl parathion (phosphorothioic acid o,o-dimethyl o-[4-nitrophenyl] ester, CAS 298-00-0). This finding may be useful in selection of a chemical for agricultural use, but conclusions about the safety of Orthene to this bat species, or to others, must remain tentative until confirmed by studies under field conditions. Because bats are long-lived with low reproductive rates and slow recruitment, any additional mortality in the wild could be critical to population survival.
Additional publication details
Orthene? toxicity to little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus): Acetylcholinesterase inhibition, coordination loss, and mortality