Effects of a glyphosate-based herbicide on mate location in a wolf spider that inhabits agroecosystems.
Chemosphere. 2011 Sep ;84(10):1461-6. Epub 2011 May 8. PMID: 21555143
Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.
Chemical communication is important to many arthropod species but the potential exists for anthropogenic chemicals to disrupt information flow. Although glyphosate-based herbicides are not acutely toxic to arthropods, little is known regarding their effects on natural chemical communication pathways. The wolf spider, Pardosamilvina, is abundant in agroecosystems where herbicides are regularly applied and uses air- and substrate-borne chemical signals extensively during mating. The aim of this study was to examine effects of a commercial formulation of a glyphosate-based herbicide on the ability of males to find females. In the field, virgin females, when hidden inside pitfall traps with herbicide, attracted fewer males than females with water. Likewise females in traps with a ring of herbicide surrounding the opening were less likely to attract males than those in traps surrounded by water. We explored the reaction of males to any airborne component of the herbicide in a laboratory two-choice olfactometer experiment. When no female pheromones were present, males were equally likely to select herbicide or water treated corridors and they all moved through the apparatus at similar speeds. When female pheromones were present, the males that selected control corridors moved more slowly than those that selected herbicide and, if we control for the initial decision time, more males selected the control corridors over the herbicide. These data suggest that glyphosate-based herbicides are "info-disruptors" that alter the ability of males to detect and/or react fully to female signals.