Neonicotinoid pesticides were introduced in the mid-1990s, and since then, they are commonly used as insecticide in crop production and veterinary medicine. These substances show lower toxicity to vertebrates compared to organophosphates and carbamate insecticides but are highly toxic to invertebrates. In 2013, the European Union banned some of neonicotinoids forbidding their use, because of growing evidence that these pesticides affect domesticated honey bees and further wild pollinators. Neinicotinoids, like most agricultural substances, reached ground and surface water, where they threaten other non-target organisms and cause other environmental problems.

Because these are relatively new substances and most studies deal mainly with harmful effects on insects, scientists from the Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters of the University of South Bohemia in Vodňany in cooperation with the colleagues from the Universities of Messina and Padova focused on one of still widely used neonicotinoid insecticide Calypso 480 SC (thiacloprid) and its effects on bivalve Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis). Mussels are very important filter organisms that are able to accumulate large amounts of pollutants. They are often used as suitable bioindicators of pollution and at the same time in the Mediterranean represent one of the important sources of livelihood for humans.

Calypso had negative effects on behaviour, vitality and the ability of hepatopancreatic cells regulate their volume, haemolymph biochemical parameters, enzyme activity and histopathological damage to gills and hepatopancreas of mussels during the 20 days laboratory test. Research showed that Calypso has a negative effect on mussels, thus we could be assumed other negative effects on other non-target invertebrates and the environment. This study is followed by other experiments, which will monitor other effects of Calypso and the active substance thiaclopride on non-target aquatic organisms.

Detailed information can be found in the original article: Stara, A., Pagano, M., Capillo, G., Fabrello, J., Sandova, M., Vazzana, I., Zuskova, E., Velisek, J., Matozzo, V., Faggio, C., 2020. Assessing the effects of neonicotinoid insecticide on the bivalve mollusc Mytilus galloprovincialis. Science of the Total Environment 700, 134914.

The study was financially supported by the project Development of USB: International Mobility MSCA IF (No. CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/17_050/0008486).

Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis)

Dissection of the Mediterranean mussel