The immediate behavioral responses of goldfish (Carassius auratus) to pesticide-contaminated flows were recorded in a countercurrent olfactometer. In addition, electro-olfactograms were recorded from the epithelial surface of the olfactory rosette as a preliminary check for the. olfactory sensitivity of the fish to the pesticides tested. All tests were run on prochloraz (imidazole fungicide), bentazone (diazine herbicide), and nicosulfuron (sulfonylurea herbicide). Behavioral effects were assessed, at four concentrations (10 mug/L, 100 mug/L, 1 mg/L, 10 mg/L), on endpoints related to swimming pattern (preference-avoidance responses, burst swimming reactions), comfort activities (buccal movements, feeding attempts), and social relations (antagonistic acts, grouping). The behavior of the fish appeared particularly sensitive to prochloraz exposure. As a whole, prochloraz-contaminated flows showed significant effects on the six behaviors studied; bentazone and nicosulfuron affected three and five, respectively. At the lowest concentration, prochloraz also showed more effects than the two other pesticides. Some of the behavioral endpoints. were found particularly sensitive to a given chemical. Pesticide-contaminated flows also induced significant changes in swimming orientation of the fish. Attraction was observed in response to flowing solutions of prochloraz (1 mg/L,10 mg/L), bentazone (10 mug/L, 10 mg/L), and nicosulfuron (I mg/L, 10 mg/L). At a concentration of 1 mg/L, none of the pesticides induced a noticeable depolarization of the olfactory epithelium, suggesting that these chemicals are not detected by the olfactory sense of the fish. These results are discussed in the light of the data concerning effects of pesticides on behavior and chemical communication in fish.
2001. Vol. 41, no 2, 192-200 p.