Once common, Whip-poor-wills (Caprimulgus vociferus) and other nocturnal nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) species are disappearing from Illinois forests as their habitats shrink and change, according to data from the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), a division of the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute. “Because they are nocturnal, monitoring for nightjars can be challenging, but we suspect that they are declining,” said Tara Beveroth, an INHS avian researcher.
Initial assessments that considered these insecticides harmless to aquatic organisms may have led to a relaxation of monitoring efforts, resulting in the worldwide contamination of many aquatic ecosystems with neonicotinoids. The decline of many populations of invertebrates, due mostly to the widespread presence of waterborne residues and the extreme chronic toxicity of neonicotinoids, is affecting the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems. Consequently, vertebrates that depend on insects and other aquatic invertebrates as their sole or main food resource are being affected.
A previous study reported by Cresswell et al. (2014) claimed a differential behavioural resilience between spring or summer honey bees (Apis mellifera) and bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) after exposure to syrup contaminated with 125 µg L−1 imidacloprid for 8 days. The authors of that study based their assertion on the lack of body residues and toxic effects in honey bees, whereas bumble bees showed body residues of imidacloprid and impaired locomotion during the exposure. We reproduced the experiments of Cresswell et al.
A new study finds that frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibians in the U.S. are dying off so quickly that they could disappear from half of their habitats in the next 20 years. For some of the more endangered species, they could lose half of their habitats in as little as six years. The nine-year study, published on May 22 in PLoS One by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), examined population trends for 48 species at 34 sites across the country. The researchers found that on average amphibian populations were shrinking a surprising 3.7 percent per year.
A new strain of ranavirus is currently causing mass mortality in several species of amphibian in the Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in continental Portugal. This infectious agent is hypervirulent and also affects fish and reptiles, which complicates the situation, according to a study boasting the collaboration of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid.
Until recently, the Bunderbos was the best place in the Netherlands to find fire salamanders. With tall broadleaf trees shading small streams, the small forest was home to thousands of the 20-centimeter-long creatures, glistening black with bright yellow spots. "It's a very charismatic animal," says Annemarieke Spitzen-van der Sluijs, a conservation biologist with Reptile, Amphibian & Fish Conservation Netherlands (RAVON), a nonprofit group based in Nijmegen. "It's like a dolphin among amphibians, always smiling, with pretty eyes."
Starting in 2012, a team led by Alex Aebi of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, asked travelling colleagues, friends and relatives to bring back honey when they went abroad. In three years they amassed 198 samples from every continent except Antarctica, and tested them for neonicotinoids. They found that three-quarters of the samples contained at least one of the five neonicotinoid pesticides. Of those, nearly half contained between two and five different neonicotinoids.
A 16-year study of mountain forest songbirds across New York and New England, including thrushes, warblers and other iconic species, has documented their population changes. Although species like Black-capped Chickadee and Swainson’s Thrush have thrived in the mountains during recent decades, some species that depend on the region’s evergreen forests of spruce and fir – notably Blackpoll Warbler – appear to have undergone substantial declines.
A new study from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research has revealed a potential link between professional pesticide treatments in the home and a higher risk of children developing brain tumours. Published this week in the international journal Cancer Causes & Control, the study found that exposure by parents to professional pesticide treatments prior to conception could increase the chances of a child developing a brain tumour.
Historian Heiko Stoff has recently sketched a fascinating controversy in the 1950’s on chemical risk assessment. Two renowned scientists in the Farbstoffkommission (Dye Committee) of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Community), pharmacologist Hermann Druckrey and biochemist (and Nobel Prize winner) Adolf Butenandt, were advocates of a preventive risk approach. Only substances with a reversible mechanism of action and dose-dependent toxicology were acceptable in their eyes because safe exposure concentrations below a threshold of toxicity could be defined.