Cholinesterase profiles in two species of wild birds exposed to insecticide sprays in their natural habitat

Aminadav Yawetz*, Zohar Zook‐Rimon, Aharon Dotan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


During summer season, a field survey was conducted to assess the extent of stress to which two species of wild birds might have been subjected, due to their dwelling near cotton fields sprayed with insecticides. One of the bird species, the cattle egret Bubulcus ibis, showed no significant changes either in brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) or in plasma butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) activities in samples collected before, during, and after the spraying season. With the spur‐wing plover, Hoplopterus spinosus, there was a significant decrease both in brain AChE and plasma BuChE activities in July and August, the period when insecticide spray was most frequent. In laboratory experiments it was found that this species could survive higher doses of parathion, and specimens surviving the treatment showed higher residual plasma BuChE activity and a faster return of that activity to normal compared to Bubulcus specimens. Brain AChE from the Hoplopterus showed a lower Ki value for inhibition by paraoxon or malaoxon compared to the same values recorded for the Bubulcus, indicating that the enzyme from the Hoplopterus brain is less sensitive to inhibition by paraoxon or malaoxon. The finding that the more resistant Hoplopterus showed a decrease in cholinesterase activity during the cotton spraying season may therefore be due to the territorial habits of this species. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-509
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1993


  • bimolecular rate constant
  • brain acetylcholinesterase
  • malaoxon
  • paraoxon
  • parathion
  • plasma butyrylcholinesterase


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