Behavioural responses of juvenile Daphnia magna to two organophosphorus insecticides


  • Valeria Di Nica Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
  • Cristiana Rizzi | Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
  • Antonio Finizio Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
  • Lorenzo Ferraro Department of Materials Science, University of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
  • Sara Villa Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano Bicocca, Milan, Italy.


In this study, the behaviour of Daphnia magna was studied under equipotent and sub-lethal concentrations of two pesticides congeners: chlorpyrifos (CPF; 5 ng L-1 to 50 ng L-1) and chlorpyrifos-methyl (CPF-m; 30 ng L-1 to 300 ng L-1) with aims to assess and compare the behavioural swimming responses (BSRs) of the cladocerans elicited by both compounds at different concentrations and exposure times. A video tracking analysis after 24 h and 48 h of exposure allowed us to evaluate different behavioural responses (distance moved, average velocity, active time, and average acceleration). The results indicate that BSRs are sensitive indicators of sub-lethal stress. Highly concentration- and time-response changes for both compounds were observed during the experiments. In particular, in the first 24 h of exposure, both compounds elicited a similar decreasing trend in swimming behaviour, in which CPF induced the highest decline. Further, hypoactivity was associated with the narcotic effects of both compounds. Conversely, after 48 h of exposure, we observed an increasing tendency in the swimming parameters, particularly at the highest tested concentrations. However, the compounds did not exhibit the same trend. Rather, CPF-m induced high variations from the control groups. This reversal trend could be due to the activation of compensatory mechanisms, such as feeding, searching, or avoidance behaviours. These results suggest that BSRs are measurable active responses of organisms, which are controlled by time.



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By Dieter Ebert, Basel, Switzerland - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Original Articles
Edited by
Ester Eckert, CNR-IRSA Verbania, Italy
Daphnia magna, behaviour, chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos-methyl, video-tracking
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How to Cite
Di Nica V, Rizzi C, Finizio A, Ferraro L, Villa S. Behavioural responses of juvenile Daphnia magna to two organophosphorus insecticides. J Limnol [Internet]. 2021 Oct. 7 [cited 2021 Oct. 19];. Available from: