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DDE-Induced Eggshell-Thinning in the American Kestrel: A Comparison of the Field Situation and Laboratory Results

Jeffrey L. Lincer
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 12, No. 3 (Dec., 1975), pp. 781-793
DOI: 10.2307/2402090
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2402090
Page Count: 13
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DDE-Induced Eggshell-Thinning in the American Kestrel: A Comparison of the Field Situation and Laboratory Results
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Abstract

(1) DDE residues in kestrel eggs collected from the Ithaca, New York area averaged 35, 42, 33 and 37 ppm for the years 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972, respectively. (2) Based on Ratcliffe's Index, eggshells of the local population averaged 10% thinner than pre-DDT eggshells. (3) A dose-response relationship is established for dietary DDE and eggshell-thinning in a captive kestrel population. (4) Statistical analysis revealed that the correlative relationship between DDE in the egg and eggshell-thinning is the same for both captive experimental birds and the wild population. (5) A discussion of organochlorines, eggshell-thinning and the decline of several populations of North American raptors concludes that a causal relationship exists between the ingestion of prey highly contaminated with DDE and the consequent eggshell-thinning and eggshell breakage. The breeding failure that follows and subsequent population declines of several raptor populations proceeds in a straightforward, logical and well-documented sequence.

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