Acute and chronic toxicity of neonicotinoids to nymphs of a mayfly species and some notes on seasonal differences

P.J. Van den Brink*, J.M. Van Smeden, R.S. Bekele, Wiebe Dierick, Daphne M. De Gelder, Maarten Noteboom, Ivo Roessink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Mayfly nymphs are among the most sensitive taxa to neonicotinoids. The present study presents the acute and chronic toxicity of 3 neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam) to a mayfly species (Cloeon dipterum) and some notes on the seasonality of the toxicity of imidacloprid to C. dipterum and 5 other invertebrate species. Imidacloprid and thiamethoxam showed equal acute and chronic toxicity to a winter generation of C. dipterum, whereas thiacloprid was approximately twice as toxic. The acute and chronic toxicity of imidacloprid was much higher for the C. dipterum summer generation than for the winter one. The acute toxicity differs by a factor of 20 for the 96-h 50% effective concentration (EC50) and by a factor of 5.4 for the chronic 28-d EC50. Temperature had only a slight effect on the sensitivity of C. dipterum to imidacloprid because we only found a factor of 1.7 difference in the 96-h EC50 between tests performed at 10°C and 18°C. The difference in sensitivity between summer and overwintering generations was also found for 3 other insect species. The results indicate that if the use and environmental fate of the 3 neonicotinoids are comparable, replacing imidacloprid by another neonicotinoid might not reduce the environmental impact on the mayfly nymph C. dipterum. The results also show the importance of reporting which generation is tested because sensitivity values of insects in the summer might be underestimated by the experiments performed with neonicotinoids and an overwintering population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-133
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Ephemeroptera
  • Imidacloprid
  • Laboratory toxicity test
  • Pesticide
  • Thiacloprid
  • Thiamethoxam

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