The Science of Nature

, 102:19

Non-target effects of clothianidin on monarch butterflies

Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-015-1270-y

Cite this article as:
Pecenka, J.R. & Lundgren, J.G. Sci Nat (2015) 102: 19. doi:10.1007/s00114-015-1270-y


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.


AsclepiasDanaus plexippusNeonicotinoidNon-targetSeed treatment

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural Resource ManagementSouth Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA
  2. 2.USDA-ARSNorth Central Agricultural Research LaboratoryBrookingsUSA