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Hidden in the sand: Alteration of burying behaviour in shore crabs and cuttlefish by antidepressant exposure

Abstract : Pharmaceuticals such as antidepressants are constantly released into the aquatic environment. Consequently, fluoxetine (FLX) and venlafaxine (VEN), the active molecules of Prozac© and Effexor©, are detected up to several µg.L−1 in freshwater and marine coastal waters. Both compounds act on the serotoninergic system, which may result in behavioural impairment, especially in juvenile animals presumed to be more susceptible to low concentrations than adults. The objective of this study was to determine whether environmental concentrations of FLX alone or combined with VEN modulate innate burying behaviour in two juvenile marine invertebrates, i.e. Sepia officinalis and Carcinus maenas. Juvenile cuttlefish were exposed from hatching to 30 days post-hatching to either FLX alone (i.e. 5 ng.L−1) or in mixture with VEN (i.e. either 2.5 ng.L−1 or 5 ng.L−1 of each antidepressant). Juvenile crabs (<2 cm carapace width) were exposed for a period of 22 days to 5 ng.L−1 of FLX and a mixture of 5 ng.L−1 of FLX and VEN each. Several parameters of sand-digging behaviour were analysed weekly in both species. The occurrence of sand-digging behaviour decreased in cuttlefish exposed to a mixture of FLX and VEN at the lowest concentration (2.5 ng.L−1 each). Because sand-digging behaviour improved in controls, this decrease was likely to be related to a modification of maturation and/or learning processes. At the mixture of 5 ng.L−1 VEN and FLX each, a better body covering was observed in juvenile crabs. In both species, innate behaviour was modified under exposure to mixtures of FLX and VEN at environmentally realistic concentrations. These alterations were observed at an early developmental stage, when animals are particularly prone to predation. Hence, modified maturation of behavioural traits and, putatively, learning processes by exposure to pseudo-persistent antidepressants may affect the survival of these two species in the long term.
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Apolline Chabenat, Cécile Bellanger, Christelle Jozet-Alves, Thomas Knigge. Hidden in the sand: Alteration of burying behaviour in shore crabs and cuttlefish by antidepressant exposure. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Elsevier, 2019, 186, pp.109738. ⟨10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.109738⟩. ⟨hal-02316741⟩



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