Endosulfan Effects on Rana dalmatina Tadpoles: Quantitative Developmental and Behavioural Analysis

  • Manuela Lavorato
  • Ilaria Bernabò
  • Antonio Crescente
  • Mathieu Denoël
  • Sandro Tripepi
  • Elvira Brunelli


Endosulfan is an organochlorine pesticide that was recently labeled as a persistent organic pollutant, but it is still widely employed, particularly in developing countries. The goal of this study is to evaluate the acute (LC50) and chronic effects (developmental and behavioural traits) of this insecticide on Rana dalmatina tadpoles after exposure to ecologically relevant concentrations (0.005, 0.01, and 0.05 mg/L) by applying video-tracking techniques to evaluate the quantitative effect of endosulfan on amphibian behavioural patterns. The 96 h LC50 value was 0.074 mg endosulfan/L. Tadpoles chronically exposed to 0.01 and 0.05 mg endosulfan/L underwent high mortality rate, decreased larval growth, delayed development, and increased incidence of malformations, and they did not reach metamorphosis by the end of the experiment. Moreover, tadpoles exposed to these concentrations exhibited several abnormalities in swimming patterns, such as shorter distance moved, swirling, resting, and unusual use of space. The exposure to 0.005 mg endosulfan/L did not cause any significant effects on behaviour, larval growth, or development, but we observed a significant decrease in both survival and time to metamorphosis. We showed that developmental abnormalities are dose-dependent and that the pesticide effects could differ depending on the endosulfan concentration and the species tested. We also validated the hypothesis that behavioural analysis, along with the use of new analytical methods, could be a useful tool in amphibian ecotoxicological studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuela Lavorato
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ilaria Bernabò
    • 1
  • Antonio Crescente
    • 1
  • Mathieu Denoël
    • 2
  • Sandro Tripepi
    • 1
  • Elvira Brunelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EcologyUniversity of CalabriaRendeItaly
  2. 2.Laboratory of Fish and Amphibian Ethology, Behavioural Biology Unit, Department of Biology, Ecology and EvolutionUniversity of LiègeLiegeBelgium

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