Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Evidence of bromethalin toxicosis in feral San Francisco "Telegraph Hill" conures.

Abstract

During 2018, four free-ranging conures, from a naturalized flock in San Francisco, presented with a characteristic set of neurologic signs that had been reported in other individuals from this flock. The cause of morbidity or mortality in historic cases has not been identified. From these four subjects, fresh feces were collected during their initial days of hospitalization and submitted to the University of Georgia Infectious Diseases Laboratory and Center for Applied Isotope Studies for bromethalin and desmethyl-bromethalin quantitation. Using High Performance Liquid Chromatography, the laboratory detected bromethalin, a non-anticoagulant, single-dose rodenticide, in fecal samples from three subjects; half of these samples were also positive for desmethyl-bromethalin, bromethalin's active metabolite. In three subjects that died, the UGA laboratory screened brain and liver samples and found bromethalin in all samples; desmethyl-bromethalin was detected in all but one brain sample, which was below the detection limit. Our findings suggest the conures are more resistant to bromethalin than are other species in which bromethalin has been studied, and/or that the conures may be ingesting the toxin at a sublethal dose. More data is needed to better assess the long-term effects of bromethalin on animals exposed at the subacute/chronic levels, and also to better understand the compartmentalization of bromethalin and desmethyl-bromethalin in a wider variety of species.