DDE in birds: Lethal residues and loss rates

  • William H. Stickel
  • Lucille F. Stickel
  • Russell A. Dyrland
  • Donald L. Hughes


Lethal brain residues of DDE2 were determined experimentally in four species of wild birds given dietary dosage of 1,500 ppm DDE until one-half had died, then sacrificing the survivors, chemically analyzing the tissues, and comparing results in dead birds and survivors. In all species, residues of 300 to 400 ppm of DDE in the brain were considered to show increasing likelihood of death from DDE, confirming results of an earlier study with a single species. Body residues (ppm wet weight) were not diagnostic, overlapping grossly in dead birds and survivors, but averaging higher in survivors. Body residues (ppm lipid base), however, were higher in dead birds and did not overlap those in survivors.

Loss rate was followed in grackles fed 1,500 ppm DDE for 7 days, then given untreated feed and sacrificed at intervals of 7, 28, 56, and 112 days. DDE was lost slowly from the bodies, at a rate of 0.30% per day (estimated half-life 229 days). DDE was lost more rapidly from brains, half of the initial concentration being reached in 25 days; concentrations in brains increased thereafter in close correlation with percentage of fat in the body.


Lipid Waste Water Water Management Water Pollution Loss Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bailey, S., P. J. Bunyan, B. D. Rennison, and A. Taylor: The metabolism of l,l-di(p-chlorophenyl)-2,2-dichloroethylene and 1,1-di(p-chlorophenyl)-2-chloroethylene in the pigeon. Toxicol Appl. Pharmacol.14, 23 (1969).Google Scholar
  2. Barbehenn, K. R., and W. L. Reichel: Organochlorine concentrations in bald eagles: brain/body lipid relations and hazard evaluation. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health8, 325 (1981).Google Scholar
  3. Clark, D. R., Jr.: Bats and environmental contaminants: A review. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Spec. Sci. Re.-Wildl. No. 235, pp. 1–27 (1981a).Google Scholar
  4. —: Death in bats from DDE, DDT, or dieldrin: diagnosis via residues in carcass fat. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol.26, 367 (1981b).Google Scholar
  5. Clark, D. R., Jr., and J. C. Kroll: Effects of DDE on experimentally poisoned free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis): Lethal brain concentrations. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health3, 893 (1977).Google Scholar
  6. Clark, D. R., Jr., and C. J. Stafford: Effects of DDE and PCB (Aroclor® 1260) on experimentally poisoned female little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus): lethal brain concentrations. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health7, 925 (1981).Google Scholar
  7. Fleming, W. J., and E. Cromartie: DDE residues in young wood ducks (Aix sponsa) near a former DDT manufacturing plant. Pestic. Monit. J.14, (1981).Google Scholar
  8. Fleming, W. J., and T. J. O'Shea: Influence of a local source of DDT pollution on statewide DDT residues in waterfowl wings, northern Alabama, 1978–79. Pestic. Monit. J.14, 86 (1980).Google Scholar
  9. Haegele, M. A., and R. H. Hudson: Eggshell thinning and residues in mallards one year after DDE exposure. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol.2, 356 (1974).Google Scholar
  10. Longcore, J. R., and R. C. Stendell: Shell thinning and reproductive impairment in black ducks after cessation of DDE dosage. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol.6, 293 (1977).Google Scholar
  11. Ohlendorf, H. M., D. M. Swineford, and L. N. Locke: Organochlorine poisoning of herons. Proc. Colonial Waterbird Group3, 176 (1979).Google Scholar
  12. Peakall, D. B., D. S. Miller, and W. B. Kintner: Prolonged egg-shell thinning caused by DDE in the duck. Nature254, 421 (1975).Google Scholar
  13. Stickel, L. F., W. H. Stickel, R. D. McArthur, and D. L. Hughes: Chlordane in birds: A study of lethal residues and loss rates. In W. B. Deichmann (organizer): Toxicology and Occupational Medicine, p. 387. New York: Elsevier/North Holland (1979).Google Scholar
  14. Stickel, W. H., J. A. Galyen, R. A. Dyrland, and D. L. Hughes: Toxicity and persistence of mirex in birds. In W. P. Deichmann (ed.): Pesticides and the environment: A continuing controversy, p. 437. New York: Intercontinental Medical Book Corp. (1973).Google Scholar
  15. Stickel, W. H., L. F. Stickel, and F. B. Coon: DDE and DDD residues correlated with mortality of experimental birds. In W. P. Deichmann (ed.): Pesticides Symposia, p. 287. Miami: Halos and Assoc. (1970).Google Scholar
  16. White, D. H., C. A. Mitchell, H. D. Kennedy, and A. J. Krynitsky: Elevated DDE and toxaphene residues in fishes and birds reflect local contamination in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Southwestern Nat. In press (1983).Google Scholar
  17. Wiemeyer, S. N., and E. Cromartie: Relationships between brain and carcass Organochlorine residues in ospreys. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol.27, 499 (1981).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • William H. Stickel
    • 2
  • Lucille F. Stickel
    • 2
  • Russell A. Dyrland
    • 2
  • Donald L. Hughes
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Hazleton Raltech, Inc.Madison
  2. 2.U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServicePatuxent Wildlife Research CenterLaurel

Personalised recommendations