John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Here today, gone tomorrow: Short‐term retention of pesticide‐induced tolerance in amphibians

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Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Pesticide use has led to the ubiquitous contamination of natural habitats, which has inadvertently increased pesticide tolerance in target and non‐target species. Historically, increased pesticide tolerance has been attributed to natural selection on tolerance among individuals of affected populations. Recent research, however, has discovered that pesticide tolerance can be increased through phenotypic plasticity. Though induced pesticide tolerance may benefit organisms experiencing contaminated systems, little is known about its occurrence in vertebrates, its retention through ontogeny, or potential life‐history trade‐offs. Using time‐to‐death assays at two distinct developmental windows, we discovered that gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor) tadpoles exposed to sublethal concentrations (0, 0.5, and 1.0 mg a.i./L) of the insecticide Sevin® (carbaryl) early in life increased their pesticide tolerance to a lethal carbaryl concentration 5 d post‐sublethal exposure. However, this increased tolerance was not retained later in ontogeny (23 d post‐sublethal exposure). Moreover, there was no indication of pesticide‐induced treefrogs experiencing life‐history trade‐offs in terms of survival to metamorphosis, mass, or snout‐vent length. Gray treefrogs are only the second vertebrate species and the second amphibian family to exhibit pesticide‐induced tolerance following sublethal exposure. Our data suggest the ability to induce increased pesticide tolerance may play a critical role in amphibian survival in contaminated ecosystems. However, future work is needed to test the occurrence of inducible pesticide tolerance among numerous amphibian populations worldwide. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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