Impacts of neonicotinoids on biodiversity: a critical review

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, but they have raised numerous concerns regarding their effects on biodiversity. Thus, the objective of this work was to do a critical review of the contamination of the environment (soil, water, air, biota) by neonicotinoids (acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam) and of their impacts on terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. Neonicotinoids are very frequently detected in soils and in freshwater, and they are also found in the air. They have only been recently monitored in coastal and marine environments, but some studies already reported the presence of imidacloprid and thiamethoxam in transitional or semi-enclosed ecosystems (lagoons, bays, and estuaries). The contamination of the environment leads to the exposure and to the contamination of non-target organisms and to negative effects on biodiversity. Direct impacts of neonicotinoids are mainly reported on terrestrial invertebrates (e.g., pollinators, natural enemies, earthworms) and vertebrates (e.g., birds) and on aquatic invertebrates (e.g., arthropods). Impacts on aquatic vertebrate populations and communities, as well as on microorganisms, are less documented. In addition to their toxicity to directly exposed organisms, neonicotinoid induce indirect effects via trophic cascades as demonstrated in several species (terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates). However, more data are needed to reach firmer conclusions and to get a clearer picture of such indirect effects. Finally, we identified specific knowledge gaps that need to be filled to better understand the effects of neonicotinoids on terrestrial, freshwater, and marine organisms, as well as on ecosystem services associated with these biotas.


Pesticides, Plant protection products, Ecotoxicity, Ecotoxicology, Agrosystems, Collective scientific assessment

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Mamy Laure, Pesce Stéphane, Sanchez Wilfried, Aviron Stéphanie, Bedos Carole, Berny Philippe, Bertrand Colette, Betoulle Stéphane, Charles Sandrine, Chaumot Arnaud, Coeurdassier Michael, Coutellec Marie-Agnès, Crouzet Olivier, Faburé Juliette, Fritsch Clémentine, Gonzalez Patrice, Hedde Mickael, Leboulanger Christophe, Margoum Christelle, Mougin Christian, Munaron Dominique, Nélieu Sylvie, Pelosi Céline, Rault Magali, Sucré Elliott, Thomas Marielle, Tournebize Julien, Leenhardt Sophie (2024). Impacts of neonicotinoids on biodiversity: a critical review. Environmental Science And Pollution Research. INPRESS.,

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