The effects on reproduction in screech owls (Otus asio) of chronic dietary sodium fluoride administration at 0, 40, and 200 ppm were examined. Fluoride at 40 ppm resulted in a significantly smaller egg volume, while 200 ppm also resulted in lower egg weights and lengths. Day-one hatchlings in the 200 ppm group weighed almost 10% less than controls and had shorter crown-rump lengths. No gross abnormalities were apparent. Skeletal clearing and staining revealed significantly shorter tibiotarsus lengths in the 40 ppm and 200 ppm groups and a shorter radius-ulna length in the 200 ppm group. By 7 days of age, body weights and lengths did not differ from controls, but the tibiotarsus in the 200 ppm group remained shorter. No significant differences were detected in hematocrit, hemoglobin, plasma calcium or alkaline phosphatase. Plasma phosphorus levels were higher in the 40 ppm group than in controls. These results, in combination with the findings of Pattee et al. , revealed significant impairment of overall reproduction, suggesting that sodium fluoride could cause slight to moderate reproduction disorders in owls in fluoride-polluted areas.
Additional publication details
Effects of fluoride on screech owl reproduction: Teratological evaluation, growth, and blood chemistry in hatchlings