Ultrastructural damage and biochemical alterations in the testes of red palm weevils (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) exposed to imidacloprid

  • Abdullah M. AlzahraniEmail author
Research Article


Despite the widespread use of the insecticide imidacloprid (IMI), a neonicotinoid, there is an urgent need for documenting information related to its acute toxicity. Therefore, this study aims to explore the markers of IMI acute toxicity in the testes of the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus). The LC50 of IMI was determined at 15.7 ppm for male R. ferrugineus. We assessed biochemical alterations in the testes resulting from treatment with four IMI concentrations (10, 15, 20, and 30 ppm). A reduction in glutathione content and acetylcholine esterase activity followed the IMI concentration in a dependent manner. Catalase activity was inhibited only at 20 ppm, while it increased significantly at 30 ppm. Lipid peroxidation increased steadily as the IMI concentrations increased. Based on ultrastructural analyses of spermiogenic stages, acute IMI toxicity produced swelling and degeneration of spermatid mitochondria indicating structural imbalances in their membranes. Further, abnormal chromatin condensation in nuclei and even loss of sperm were also apparent. This study provides biochemical and ultrastructural indicators for acute toxicity resulting from IMI.


Imidacloprid Acute toxicity Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Oxidative stress Testes ultrastructure 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the Deanship of Scientific Research, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia (Project No. 130165).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, College of ScienceKing Faisal UniversityHofoufSaudi Arabia

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