Warming increases chlorpyrifos effects on predator but not anti-predator behaviours

Khuong Van Dinh, Lizanne Janssens, Sara Debecker, Robby Stoks

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Recent insights indicate that negative effects of pesticides on aquatic biota occur at concentrations that current legislation considers environmentally protective. We here address two, potentially interacting, mechanisms that may contribute to the underestimation of the impact of sublethal pesticide effects in single species tests at room temperature: the impairment of predator and antipredator behaviours and the stronger impact of organophosphate pesticides at higher temperatures. To address these issues we assessed the effects of chlorpyrifos on the predator and antipredator behaviours of larvae of the damselfly Ischnura elegans, important intermediate predators in aquatic food webs, in a common-garden warming experiment with replicated low- and high-latitude populations along the latitudinal gradient of this species in Europe. Chlorpyrifos reduced the levels of predator behavioural endpoints, and this reduction was stronger at the higher temperature for head orientations and feeding strikes. Chlorpyrifos also impaired two key antipredator behavioural endpoints, activity reductions in response to predator cues were smaller in the presence of chlorpyrifos, and chlorpyrifos caused a lower escape swimming speed; these effects were independent of temperature. This suggests chlorpyrifos may impact food web interactions by changing predator-prey interactions both with higher (predators) and lower trophic levels (food). Given that only the interaction with the lower trophic level was more impaired at higher temperatures, the overall pesticide-induced changes in food web dynamics may be strongly temperature-dependent. These findings were consistent in damselflies from low- and high-latitude populations, illustrating that thermal adaptation will not mitigate the increased toxicity of pesticides at higher temperatures. Our study not only underscores the relevance of including temperature and prey-predator interactions in ecological risk assessment but also their potential interplay and thereby highlights the complexity of contaminant effects on predator-prey interactions being differentially temperature-dependent pending on the trophic level. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Pages (from-to)215-221
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Antipredator response
  • Damselfly larvae
  • Food web interactions
  • Latitudinal gradient
  • Pesticide
  • Escape swimming speed
  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • chlorpyrifos
  • antipredator defense
  • damselfly
  • escape behavior
  • food web
  • larva
  • latitudinal gradient
  • predator
  • predator-prey interaction
  • sublethal effect
  • swimming behavior
  • temperature effect
  • trophic level
  • warming
  • animal behavior
  • animal experiment
  • arthropod larva
  • article
  • controlled study
  • Diptera
  • environmental temperature
  • female
  • foraging behavior
  • Ischnura elegans
  • nonhuman
  • predator prey interaction
  • priority journal
  • risk assessment
  • temperature acclimatization
  • temperature sensitivity
  • Europe
  • Animals
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Escape Reaction
  • Larva
  • Odonata
  • Predatory Behavior
  • Temperature
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • anti-predator behavior
  • aquatic food web
  • predation
  • swimming speed
  • temperature parameter
  • Insecta Arthropoda Invertebrata Animalia (Animals, Arthropods, Insects, Invertebrates) - Odonata [75338] Ischnura elegans species damselfly common
  • chlorpyrifos 2921-88-2 pesticide
  • 07002, Behavioral biology - General and comparative behavior
  • 07003, Behavioral biology - Animal behavior
  • 07508, Ecology: environmental biology - Animal
  • 07514, Ecology: environmental biology - Limnology
  • 10060, Biochemistry studies - General
  • 22501, Toxicology - General and methods
  • 22506, Toxicology - Environment and industry
  • 54600, Pest control: general, pesticides and herbicides
  • 64076, Invertebrata: comparative, experimental morphology, physiology and pathology - Insecta: physiology
  • Ecology, Environmental Sciences
  • garden warming experiment applied and field techniques
  • Behavior
  • Freshwater Ecology
  • Pesticides
  • Toxicology


Dive into the research topics of 'Warming increases chlorpyrifos effects on predator but not anti-predator behaviours'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this