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Influence of dieldrin on the reproduction of the earthwormEisenia fetida (Oligochaeta)


The environmental hazard of the agricultural pesticide dieldrin for the earthwormEisenia fetida was experimentally determined in order to assess and quantify sublethal effects. We determined that the “non-toxic” dieldrin had a negative effect on cocoon production. An inverse relationship was found between the concentration of dieldrin in the environment and the number of hatchlings per cocoon. The hatchlings were also smaller than those from the controls.

Hatching success of cocoons was also adversely affected and the incubation period was longer. Knowledge of sublethal effects has predictive value in ecotoxicological work and could serve as a timely warning device of an overburdened soil ecosystem.

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Correspondence to A. J. Reinecke.

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Reinecke, A.J., Venter, J.M. Influence of dieldrin on the reproduction of the earthwormEisenia fetida (Oligochaeta). Biol Fert Soils 1, 39–44 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00710969

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Key words

  • Environmental hazard
  • Sublethal effects
  • Eisenia fetida
  • Dieldrin