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Road salt is taking its toll on insects in Toronto area


It may help keep your car on the road in the winter, but research from the University of Toronto suggests that road salt is creating problems for wildlife.

Researchers from the lab of Shannon McCauley, an associate professor of biology at U of T Mississauga,investigated the impact of road salt exposure on larvae of Anax junius dragonflies. The results, published in the journal Frontiers of Ecology and Evolution, show that long-term exposure to high levels of salinity suppress the immune response of aquatic insects, negatively impacting their ability to fight infections and recover from injuries.

Known as “green darners,” Anax junius dragonflies are one of the most common and abundant species in North America. Long and thin, they can grow to a length of 76 mm and are fierce and voracious predators. MORE

Header image: Four variants of Anax junius at different stages of development Credit: Rosemary Martin.

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