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Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Vol. 74, No.
5, 2011; Pages: 1122 - 1130

Effects of repeated field applications of two formulations of Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis on non-target saltmarsh invertebrates in Atlantic coastal wetlands

Thierry Caquet, Marc Roucaute, Pierre Le Goff, Laurent Lagadic

INRA, UMR985 Écologie et Santé des Écosystèmes, Équipe Écotoxicologie et Qualité des Milieux Aquatiques, Agrocampus Ouest, 65 rue de Saint Brieuc, F-35042 Rennes, France.


Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti) is commonly used for selective control of larval populations of mosquitoes in coastal wetlands. A two year-study was implemented to investigate whether repeated treatments with Bti applied either as a liquid (VectoBac® 12AS) or a water-dispersible granule (VectoBac® WG) formulation may affect the abundance and diversity of non-target aquatic invertebrates in saltmarsh pools. Taxonomic composition of the invertebrate communities was typical of brackishwater intermittent ecosystems, with a dominance of annelids, crustaceans and nematocerans. Conditions were contrasted between the two years of the survey, both in terms of annual cumulative rainfall and rainfall distribution throughout the year. As a consequence, the hydroperiod and some other environmental characteristics associated with pool drying played a major role in the dynamics of the invertebrate community. In summer 2006, pool drying reduced the abundance of the polychaete worm Nereis diversicolor, of the amphipod crustacean Corophium volutator and of chironomid larvae. These taxa were able to recolonize rapidly the pools after flooding in September 2006. In 2007, rainfall was more regularly distributed across the year, and the pools did not get dry. Hydrozoans, Chironomini and Orthocladiinae larvae, and oligochaetes were more abundant in treated than in control pools, especially in VectoBac® WG-treated pools. No adverse effects of the treatments were shown on the abundance of N. diversicolor, C. volutator and midge larvae, suggesting that the availability of these food sources for birds was not negatively affected by Bti applications. It is concluded that, as currently performed in Western France coastal wetlands, land-based treatments of saltmarsh pools for larval mosquito control with Bti, used either as VectoBac® 12AS or VectoBac® WG, did not adversely impact non-target aquatic invertebrate communities.

Keywords: Larvicide; Mosquito control; Non-target invertebrates; Field biomonitoring; Brackishwater pools



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