Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 31, pp 31762–31770 | Cite as

Mice exposure to haloxyfop-p-methyl ester at predicted environmentally relevant concentrations leads to anti-predatory response deficit

  • Bruna de Oliveira Mendes
  • Carlos Mesak
  • José Eduardo Dias CalixtoJr
  • Guilherme MalafaiaEmail author
Short Research and Discussion Article


Although the efficiency of haloxyfop-p-methyl ester (HPME) as selective herbicide is acknowledged, its impact on non-target organisms is poorly known. It is not known whether the short exposure of mammals to low HPME concentrations (consistent with a realistic contamination scenario) poses risks to these animals. Thus, the aim of the current study is to evaluate the effects of HPME on the anti-predatory behavior of female Swiss mice exposed to it. The animals were divided in groups: non-exposed (control) and exposed (route: i.p., for 2 days) to different herbicide concentrations (2.7 × 10−4 g/kg and 2.7 × 10−2 g/kg of body weight), which were considered environmentally relevant predicted concentrations. The animals were subjected to the open field and elevated plus-maze tests; results showed that the HPME did not lead to anxiolytic or anxiety behavior, or to locomotive changes in the tested animals, fact that was confirmed through the Basso Mouse Scale for locomotion scores. On the other hand, animals exposed to the herbicide were incapable of recognizing the snake as potential predator. Animals in the control group, exposed to a real snake (Pantherophis guttatus) remained longer in the safety zone of the test device, presented lower frequency of self-grooming behaviors for a shorter period-of-time, besides showing longer freezing time, which was not observed in animals exposed to HPME. Therefore, our study indicates the ecotoxicological potential of the herbicide, since anti-predatory behavior disorders may affect preys’ responses and population dynamics.


Pesticides Mammals Environmental toxicology Behavioral biology 



The authors are grateful to the Brazilian National Council for Research (CNPq) (Brazilian research agency) (Proc. No 467801/2014-2) and to Instituto Federal Goiano for the financial support (Proc. No 23219000096/2018-93). Moreover, the authors are grateful to CAPES and FAPEG for granting the scholarship to the student who developed the current study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All the herein adopted procedures were approved by the Ethics Committee on Animal Use of Goiano Federal Institute (Comissão de Ética no Uso de Animais do Instituto Federal Goiano), GO, Brazil (Protocol no. 6339041117). Meticulous efforts were made to assure that the animals suffered the least possible and to reduce external stress, pain, and discomfort sources. The current study did not exceed the number of animals necessary to produce trustworthy scientific data. The present article does not contain studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruna de Oliveira Mendes
    • 1
  • Carlos Mesak
    • 1
  • José Eduardo Dias CalixtoJr
    • 2
  • Guilherme Malafaia
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Post-Graduation Program in Conservation of Cerrado Natural Resources – Biological Research LaboratoryInstituto Federal Goiano –Campus UrutaíUrutaíBrazil
  2. 2.Post-Graduation Program in Forest SciencesUniversidade de BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Pesquisas BiológicasInstituto Federal Goiano –Campus UrutaíUrutaíBrazil

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