Short Communication

The Science of Nature

, 102:19

First online:

Non-target effects of clothianidin on monarch butterflies

  • Jacob R. PecenkaAffiliated withNatural Resource Management, South Dakota State University
  • , Jonathan G. LundgrenAffiliated withUSDA-ARS, North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory Email author 

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Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) frequently consume milkweed in and near agroecosystems and consequently may be exposed to pesticides like neonicotinoids. We conducted a dose response study to determine lethal and sublethal doses of clothianidin using a 36-h exposure scenario. We then quantified clothianidin levels found in milkweed leaves adjacent to maize fields. Toxicity assays revealed LC10, LC50, and LC90 values of 7.72, 15.63, and 30.70 ppb, respectively. Sublethal effects (larval size) were observed at 1 ppb. Contaminated milkweed plants had an average of 1.14 ± 0.10 ppb clothianidin, with a maximum of 4 ppb in a single plant. This research suggests that clothianidin could function as a stressor to monarch populations.


Asclepias Danaus plexippus Neonicotinoid Non-target Seed treatment