Mortality and cholinesterase inhibition in butterflies following aerial naled applications for mosquito control on the National Key Deer Refuge

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
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Natural resource managers are concerned about the impacts of aerial ultra-low volume spray (ULV) of insecticides for mosquito control (i.e., mosquito adulticides) and seek science-driven management recommendations that reduce risk but allow vector control for nearby human populations. Managers at the National Key Deer Refuge (Florida Keys, FL) are concerned for ULV effects upon conservation efforts for imperiled butterflies (Florida leafwing [Anaea troglodyta floridalis] and Bartram’s hairstreak [Strymon acis bartrami] butterflies). No-spray zones were designated for protection of those butterflies, but their effectiveness for mitigation is unclear. To address this uncertainty, cholinesterase activity (ChE) and mortality were monitored for caged butterflies gulf fritillary [Agraulis vanilla] and great southern white [Ascia monuste]) deployed on the Refuge during three aerial ULV applications of the insecticide naled. Residue samplers also were deployed to estimate butterfly exposure. Spray efficacy against mosquitoes was assessed by deploying caged mosquitoes at the same locations as the butterflies. Average naled residue levels on filter paper samplers in the target area (1882–2898 µg/m2) was significantly greater than in the no-spray zone (9–1562 µg/m2). Differences between the no-spray zone and target area for butterfly mortality and ChE were inconsistent. Average mortality was significantly lower, and average ChE was significantly higher in the no-spray zone for larvae of one species but not for larvae of the other species. Mosquito mortality did not differ significantly between the two areas. Data from the present study reflect the inconsistent effectiveness of no-spray zones on the Refuge using standard methods employed at the time by the vector control agency in the Florida Keys and possibly by other vector control agencies in similar coastal environments. Furthermore, these findings helped to guide the design and to improve the conservation value of future no-spray zone delineations while allowing for treatment in areas where mosquito control is necessary for vector-borne disease reduction.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mortality and cholinesterase inhibition in butterflies following aerial naled applications for mosquito control on the National Key Deer Refuge
Series title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
DOI 10.1007/s00244-020-00745-8
Volume 79
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 13 p.
First page 233
Last page 245
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial National Key Deer Refuge
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