Behavioral Responses to Atrazine and Diuron in Goldfish
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Experiments were performed in goldfish to determine the effects of a short-term exposure (24 h) to atrazine or diuron (0.5, 5, 50 μg/L) on some behavior endpoints related to swimming and social activities. Observations were also made to assess the influence of such exposure on the behavioral responses of fish to the flow of a crude skin extract solution from conspecifics, active in social chemocommunication and producing alarm behaviors. Additive tests were run to check the behavioral responses of previously unexposed goldfish to the flow of a solution of atrazine- or diuron-contaminated water, at three concentrations (0.1, 1, 10 mg/L). Significant burst swimming reactions appeared in response to a 24-h exposure to atrazine, at the lowest concentration tested (0.5 μg/L). A 24-h exposure to 5 μg/L atrazine or diuron was found to induce various significant behavioral alterations in fish. At this concentration, both herbicides decreased grouping behavior and atrazine also increased surfacing activity. Herbicide-exposed fish showed a decreased grouping behavior during the flow of the skin extract solution. Sheltering was also decreased during the flow of the biological solution in fish exposed to atrazine. Moreover, fish exposed to diuron clearly displayed attraction responses to the flow of the skin solution. Previously unexposed fish showed a significant increase in burst swimming reactions in response to the flow of a solution of atrazine- or diuron-contaminated water, at all concentrations tested (0.1, 1, 10 mg/L). Furthermore, the diuron-contaminated flow was found to be significantly attractive at the highest concentration. These results indicate that a short-term exposure to a relatively low concentration (5 μg/L) of atrazine or diuron can affect various behaviors of fish not only directly but also indirectly by altering the chemical perception of natural substances of eco-ethological importance. In consideration of the basic role of olfaction in fish behavior, these results also emphasize the need for further developments on the possible effects of aquatic toxicants on olfactory-mediated behaviors.
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