Effects of sublethal fenitrothion ingestion on cholinesterase inhibition, standard metabolism, thermal preference, and prey-capture ability in the Australian central bearded dragon (pogona vitticeps, agamidae)
The central bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) is a medium-sized lizard that is common in semiarid habitats in Australia and that potentially is at risk of fenitrothion exposure from use of the chemical in plague locust control. We examined the effects of single sublethal doses of this organophosphate (OP; low dose = 2.0 mg/kg; high dose = 20 mg/kg; control = vehicle alone) on lizard thermal preference, standard metabolic rate, and prey-capture ability. We also measured activities of plasma total cholinesterase (ChE) and acetylcholinesterase before and at 0, 2, 8, 24, 120, and 504 h after OP dosing. Predose plasma total ChE activity differed significantly between sexes and averaged 0.66 +/- 0.06 and 0.45 +/- 0.06 micromol/min/ml for males and females, respectively. Approximately 75% of total ChE activity was attributable to butyrylcholinesterase. Peak ChE inhibition reached 19% 2 h after OP ingestion in the low-dose group, and 68% 8 h after ingestion in high-dose animals. Neither OP doses significantly affected diurnal body temperature, standard metabolic rate, or feeding rate. Plasma total ChE levels remained substantially depressed up to 21 d after dosing in the high-dose group, making this species a useful long-term biomonitor of OP exposure in its habitat.