, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 1294-1301
Date: 14 Jul 2010

Impairment of trophic interactions between zebrafish (Danio rerio) and midge larvae (Chironomus riparius) by chlorpyrifos

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Abstract

The effects of chemicals on biotic interactions, such as competition and predation, have rarely been investigated in aquatic ecotoxicology. This study presents a new approach for the investigation of predator–prey interactions between zebrafish (Danio rerio) and midge larvae (Chironomus riparius) impaired by chlorpyrifos (CHP), a neurotoxic insecticide. With a simple experimental design including four different treatments: (1) control, (2) predator exposed, (3) prey exposed and (4) both, predator and prey, exposed, we were able to detect by visual observation an increase in the feeding rate of zebrafish preying on exposed chironomids after acute (2 h) exposure to 6 μg/l CHP. Previously, a decrease in the burrowing behaviour of exposed chironomid larvae was observed. However, when pre-exposing simultaneously both predators and prey, no significant differences in the feeding rate of zebrafish were observed. This suggests an impairment in prey recognition of the exposed zebrafish. At a lower CHP concentration (1 μg/l), no differences in feeding rate of zebrafish were observed. We therefore propose the use of trophic interactions as parameters in higher tier studies for chemical testing and evaluation of ecotoxicological risk assessment.

Miriam Langer-Jaesrich and Cornelia Kienle have contributed equally to this paper and share first authorship.