Early-life exposure to permethrin affects phenotypic traits in both larval and adult mangrove rivulus Kryptolebias marmoratus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In fishes, the impacts of environmental constraints undergone during development on the behavioural response of individuals are not well understood. Obtaining more information is important since the aquatic environment is widely exposed to pollution involving neurotoxic compounds likely to cause phenotypic changes that can affect animal fitness. We explored how early exposure to the pyrethroid insecticide permethrin (PM), a compound known for its neurotoxicity, influences the phenotypic traits in both larvae and adults of the self-fertilizing fish mangrove rivulus, Kryptolebias marmoratus. First, we investigated immediate effects of PM on larvae after one-week exposure (0-7 days post-hatching): larvae exposed to high concentration (200 µg.L-1) grew less, were less active, had negative thigmotaxis and were less likely to capture prey than control individuals and those exposed to low concentration (5 µg.L-1). No difference was found between treatments when considering oxygen consumption rate and cortisol levels. Persistent effects of early exposure to PM on adults (147-149 days post-hatching) showed that fish previously exposed to high concentration of PM overcompensated growth, leading them to finally be longer and heavier than fish from other treatments. Moreover, we evidenced that levels of cortisol interacted with early PM exposure to affect behaviours during dyadic contests. Fish were more likely to initiate fighting behaviours and were more likely to be aggressive when they have low pre-contest levels of cortisol, but these effects were less pronounced when individuals were exposed to PM. This study shows that PM can have both immediate and persistent effects on phenotypic traits in a self-fertilizing vertebrate and suggests that a pyrethroid can interact with hormones action to affect animal behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106543
JournalAquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2023

Cite this