Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)

Effects of herbicides on Behr's metalmark butterfly, a surrogate species for the endangered butterfly, Lange's metalmark.

PMID 22310058


Lange's metalmark butterfly, Apodemia mormo langei Comstock, is in danger of extinction due to loss of habitat caused by invasive exotic plants which are eliminating its food, naked stem buckwheat. Herbicides are being used to remove invasive weeds from the dunes; however, little is known about the potential effects of herbicides on butterflies. To address this concern we evaluated potential toxic effects of three herbicides on Behr's metalmark, a close relative of Lange's metalmark. First instars were exposed to recommended field rates of triclopyr, sethoxydim, and imazapyr. Life history parameters were recorded after exposure. These herbicides reduced the number of adults that emerged from pupation (24-36%). Each herbicide has a different mode of action. Therefore, we speculate that effects are due to inert ingredients or indirect effects on food plant quality. If these herbicides act the same in A. mormo langei, they may contribute to the decline of this species.