, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 824–834 | Cite as

The toxicological effect of Ruta graveolens extract in Siamese fighting fish: a behavioral and histopathological approach

  • Mohammad Navid Forsatkar
  • Mohammad Ali Nematollahi
  • Culum Brown


The effects of pharmacological waste on aquatic ecosystems are increasingly highlighted in ecotoxicology research. Many of these products are designed for human physiology but owing to the conservative nature of vertebrate evolution they also tend to have effects on aquatic organisms and fishes in particular when they find their way into aquatic systems via wastewater effluent. One area of research has focused on reproductive control and the associated hormone treatments. Many of these hormones affect the reproductive physiology of fishes and may cause feminization of male reproductive traits. Alternative medicines have also been widely used particularly in traditional cultures but few of these alternative treatments have been assessed with respect to their potential impact on aquatic ecosystems. Rue (Ruta graveolens) has been used as a male contraceptive in traditional medicines but its effects on fish behavior and reproductive anatomy have yet to be established. Here we show that treating Siamese fighting fish, Betta splendens, with extract of rue has a significant effect on key aggressive/reproductive behaviors and the propensity to explore novel objects (boldness). In all cases the respective behaviors were reduced relative to controls and sham injected fish. Histological analysis of the testes revealed that rue exposure reduced the number of spermatozoa but increased the number of spermatocytes relative to controls.


Personality Spermatogenesis Rue Male contraceptive Ecotoxicology 



We are grateful to the Aquaculture Department of University of Tehran for providing us with the laboratory space to perform these experiments. This study was funded by University of Tehran. We thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive and insightful comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Navid Forsatkar
    • 1
  • Mohammad Ali Nematollahi
    • 1
  • Culum Brown
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Natural ResourcesUniversity of TehranKarajIran
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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