Improving reptile ecological risk assessment: Oral and dermal toxicity of pesticides to a common lizard species (Sceloporus occidentalis)

Scott M. Weir, Shuangying Yu, Larry G. Talent, Jonathan D. Maul, Todd A. Anderson, Christopher J. Salice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Reptiles have been understudied in ecotoxicology, which limits consideration in ecological risk assessments. The goals of the present study were 3-fold: to improve oral and dermal dosing methodologies for reptiles, to generate reptile toxicity data for pesticides, and to correlate reptile and avian toxicity. The authors first assessed the toxicity of different dosing vehicles: 100μL of water, propylene glycol, and acetone were not toxic. The authors then assessed the oral and dermal toxicity of 4 pesticides following the up-and-down procedure. Neither brodifacoum nor chlorothalonil caused mortality at doses ≤1750μg/g. Under the "neat pesticide" oral exposure, endosulfan (median lethal dose [LD50]=9.8 μg/g) was more toxic than λ-cyhalothrin (LD50=916.5μg/g). Neither chemical was toxic via dermal exposure. An acetone dosing vehicle increased λ-cyhalothrin toxicity (oral LD50=9.8μg/g; dermal LD50=17.5μg/g), but not endosulfan. Finally, changes in dosing method and husbandry significantly increased dermal λ-cyhalothrin LD50s, which highlights the importance of standardized methods. The authors combined data from the present study with other reptile LD50s to correlate with available avian data. When only definitive LD50s were used in the analysis, a strong correlation was found between avian and reptile toxicity. The results suggest it is possible to build predictive relationships between avian and reptile LD50s. More research is needed, however, to understand trends associated with chemical classes and modes of action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1778-1786
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Ecological risk assessment
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Organochlorines
  • Pyrethroids
  • Rodenticides


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