It has been reported that the decimation of honey bees was because of pesticides of imidacloprid. The imidacloprid is a wildly used neonicotinoid insecticide. However, whether imidacloprid toxicity interferes with the spatial memory of echolocation bats is still unclear. Thus, we compared the spatial memory of Formosan leaf-nosed bats, Hipposideros terasensis, before and after chronic treatment with a low dose of imidacloprid. We observed that stereotyped flight patterns of echolocation bats that received chronic imidacloprid treatment were quite different from their originally learned paths. We further found that neural apoptosis in hippocampal CA1 and medial entorhinal cortex areas of echolocation bats that received imidacloprid treatment was significantly enhanced in comparison with echolocation bats that received sham treatment. Thus, we suggest that imidacloprid toxicity may interfere with the spatial memory of echolocation bats through neural apoptosis in hippocampal CA1 and medial entorhinal cortex areas. The results provide direct evidence that pesticide toxicity causes a spatial memory disorder in echolocation bats. This implies that agricultural pesticides may pose severe threats to the survival of echolocation bats.
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