Effects of a single dietary exposure to fenthion and carbofuran on the survival, feeding behavior and brain ChE activity of eastern screech-owls, Otus asio and American kestrels, Falco sparverius, were evaluated. Birds were exposed to fenthion (23.6189.0 ppm) or carbofuran (31.7253.6 ppm) via meatballs. Carbofuran-exposed owls ate either <=10% or >= 80% of the meatball whereas all kestrels ate <= 10% of the meatball before exhibiting acute signs of toxicity. Fenthion-exposed owls and kestrels displayed a wide spectrum of meatball consumption (<10100%). Significant brain ChE inhibition was observed in dead and surviving kestrels exposed to fenthion and carbofuran and dead owls exposed to fenthion (P < 0.0001). Brain ChE activity of owls exposed to carbofuran that survived was not different from that of controls (P = 0.25). Data suggest: (1) slow feeding on a carbamate-contaminated item may provide limited protection from the toxicity of the chemical at certain rates of exposure; (2) the degree of ChE inhibition at neuromuscular junctions may be critical in determining the sensitivity of a species to a carbamate insecticide; (3) sensitivity may be a function of the ChE affinity for the carbamate inhibitor; and (4) the importance of neuromuscular junction ChE depression in determining the sensitivity of an animal may be species-specific.
Additional publication details
Possible mechanisms for sensitivity to organophosphorus and carbamate insecticides in eastern screech-owls and American kestrels