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Short-tailed shrews: Toxicity and residue relationships of DDT, dieldrin, and endrin

January 1, 1978

Experiments involving dietary toxicity and residue relationships of DDT, dieldrin, and endrin were conducted with short-tailed shrews. Dietary concentrations of DDT dissolved in vegetable oils were usually more toxic than diets containing comparable amounts of powdered DDT. Younger shrews, particularly females, were more tolerant of powdered DDT than older animals; yet, there were no conspicuous age differences in toxicity of DDT dissolved in oils. In comparison to other mammals, short-tailed shrews are not unusually sensitive to DDT, dieldrin, or endrin on the basis of two-week feeding tests. The influence of age and sex on toxicity of DDT, endrin, and dieldrin was sometimes more important than body weight. Of those shrews of the same age and sex that were fed the same dietary dosage, heavier shrews were more tolerant than lighter individuals; and, heavier shrews tended to lose a greater percentage of body weight before death. There was a range of 15 to 105 DDT equivalents in brains of shrews dying on dietary dosages of DDT. Six shrews fed a high level of DDT seemed to have unusual metabolite capabilities and died with apparent lethal levels of DDD in their brains. Levels of dieldrin in brains of shrews that died on a dietary dosage of dieldrin ranged from 3.7 to 12.6 ppm. In the rates of gain and loss experiments where shrews were given diets containing 400 ppm DDT or 50 ppm dieldrin up to 17 days, high residues were noted in tissues of shrews after two weeks on a contaminated diet and a few died at that time. After shrews were placed on clean food, it was determined that >50% of the dieldrin residues in carcass and brain were lost in <2 weeks. Males and females fed DDT for 17 days lost >50% of residues of DDT and metabolites in brains after 2 weeks on clean food; males lost nearly 50% of residues in carcasses after two weeks on clean food compared with a loss of only 11% in females.

Publication Year 1978
Title Short-tailed shrews: Toxicity and residue relationships of DDT, dieldrin, and endrin
Authors L. J. Blus
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Index ID 5221447
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center