Consumption of rodenticide baits by invertebrates as a potential route into the diet of insectivores

Williams, Emily J. ORCID:; Cotter, Sheena C.; Soulsbury, Carl D.. 2023 Consumption of rodenticide baits by invertebrates as a potential route into the diet of insectivores [in special issue: Applied hedgehog conservation research] Animals, 13 (24), 3873. 12, pp.

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Non-target species are commonly exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides worldwide, which may pose a key threat to declining species. However, the main pathway of exposure is usually unknown, potentially hindering conservation efforts. This study aimed to examine whether baits mixed with the biomarker rhodamine B can be used to track invertebrate consumption of rodenticides in a field environment, using this to observe whether invertebrate prey are a potential vector for anticoagulant rodenticides in the diet of insectivores such as the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). Rhodamine B baits were found to create an observable response. Uptake was negligible in captured insects; however, 20.7% of slugs and 18.4% of snails captured showed uptake of bait. Maximum temperature, distance from bait, proximity to buildings, and the addition of copper tape to bait boxes all influenced the rate of bait uptake in molluscs. Based on these data, it seems likely that molluscs could be a source of rodenticide poisoning in insectivores. This research demonstrates which prey may pose exposure risks to insectivores and likely environmental factors, knowledge of which can guide effective mitigation measures. We suggest that further investigation into using mollusc repellents around bait boxes should be considered.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2076-2615
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: insectivores, rodenticides, route of exposure, wildlife conservation, non target, invertebrates, secondary exposure, molluscs
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
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Date made live: 05 Jan 2024 10:38 +0 (UTC)

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