The release of contaminants as herbicides, fungicides and insecticides into the environment has been listed as one of the six major contributors to the global decline of reptiles. Although reptiles may face severe risk from contaminants due to their ecology and physiology, they are currently less studied than other vertebrate groups. In the present work, we investigated if and how different types of field treatment (conventional and organic) affected the health status of Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus) individuals in central Italy. We chose a multi-biomarker approach that evaluated the biological responses of lizards to the treatment by means of AChE activity in the nervous system, biotransformation enzymes activities and oxidative stress in the liver, micronuclei frequency measured in the erythrocytes, and rate of intestinal parasitic infection. Our findings showed evidence of effects of treatment in conventional areas and between sexes with significant oxidative stress due to hydroxyl radicals, that caused DNA damage. No difference of intestinal parasite infections was found among treatments. Podarcis siculus seems to be a good bioindicator in ecotoxicological studies and potentially in risk assessment of pesticides, although further analyses in laboratory and in the field are needed to achieve more accurate quantification of specific pesticide effects in relation to known exposure history and to understand if other mechanisms were involved in the toxicity and detoxification process of pesticides for this species.
Simbula, G., Moltedo, G., Catalano, B., Martuccio, G., Sebbio, C., Onorati, F., et al. (2021). Biological responses in pesticide exposed lizards (Podarcis siculus). ECOTOXICOLOGY, 30(6), 1017-1028 [10.1007/s10646-021-02440-3].