Health impacts of neonicotinoids may go well beyond bees, according to a new University of Guelph study.
Residues of the insecticides were found in the livers of wild turkeys, providing evidence that this common agrochemical is being ingested by free-ranging animals.
The researchers from the Ontario Veterinary College are among the first to study the broader effects of neonics on wildlife.
Published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, the study found that wild turkey carcasses had detectable levels of neonicotinoids in their livers. Two types of the insecticide were found in some birds. The researchers also found corn and soybean seeds coated with the insecticide in the digestive system of some birds.
Studying exposure levels in larger wildlife species is critical to understanding wider impacts on migratory behaviour, reproduction and mortality, says Claire Jardine, study author and a U of G pathobiology professor.