Genetic Variation Influences Tolerance to a Neonicotinoid Insecticide in 3 Butterfly Species

Megan E. Kobiela, Emilie C. Snell-Rood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neonicotinoid pesticides harm nontarget insects, but their sublethal effects on butterflies are understudied. We exposed larvae of 3 butterfly species (Pieris rapae, Colias philodice, and Danaus plexippus) to low levels of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid in their host plants and followed individuals to adulthood. Imidacloprid altered adult body size, especially in female monarchs, but its effects varied across maternal families, highlighting the importance of considering genetic variation in ecotoxicological testing. Environ Toxicol Chem 2020;39:2228–2236.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2228-2236
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank A. Anjum, A. Froslie, and T. Pan for their help in rearing caterpillars and phenotyping adults. S. McGaugh, R. Shaw, M. Spivak, and members of the Snell-Rood laboratory provided helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. Funding was provided by a University of Minnesota Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior research grant and a Dayton Bell Museum Fund Fellowship. Megan E. Kobiela's current address: School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska?Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.


  • Colias philodice
  • Danaus plexippus
  • Imidacloprid
  • Nontarget insect
  • Pieris rapae
  • Sublethal effects

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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