Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 33, pp 26120–26124 | Cite as

No effect of insect repellents on the behaviour of Lymnaea stagnalis at environmentally relevant concentrations

  • Patrick Fink
  • Eric von Elert
Research Article


Insect repellents are widely applied to various materials and to both human and animal skin to deter mosquitoes and ticks. The most common deterrent compounds applied are DEET, EBAAP and icaridin (picaridin, Bayrepel). Due to their extensive application, these repellents are frequently detected in surface waters in considerable concentrations. As these compounds are designed to alter invertebrates’ behaviour rather than to intoxicate them, we hypothesised that insect repellents have the potential to modify the natural behaviour of non-target invertebrates in natural freshwater bodies. To test this, we used a well-established laboratory assay designed to quantify the odour-mediated foraging behaviour of freshwater gastropods and the great pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis (Linnaeus, 1758) as a model organism to test for potential deterrent effects of insect repellents on aquatic snails. Using a wide concentration range from the picogramme per litre to microgramme per litre range (and by far exceeding the range of concentrations reported from natural waters), we found no evidence for a deterrent effect of either of the three repellents on foraging L. stagnalis. Our data and other recent studies give no indication for undesirable behavioural alterations by common insect repellents in surface waters.


DEET EBAAP Food searching Gastropoda Icaridin Infochemicals Semiochemicals 



We would like to thank Jana Moelzner, Nicole Roth and Daniel Schaefer for excellent laboratory assistance and Ruediger Berghahn for helpful suggestions. Icaridin (Saltidin) was kindly provided by Saltigo, Leverkusen, Germany.

Funding information

This research was funded through FuE grant FKZ3712 67 417 2 of the German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) to PF and EvE.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cologne Biocenter, Workgroup Aquatic Chemical EcologyUniversity of CologneKölnGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Zoomorphology and Cell BiologyHeinrich-Heine-University of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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