Letter | Published:

Action of formamidine pesticides on octopamine receptors

Naturevolume 287pages6062 (1980) | Download Citation



The formamidines are a structurally novel group of pesticides of growing importance in the control of mites, cattle ticks and certain orders of insects which have become resistant to conventional acaricides and insecticides. Their mode of action is complex with dose-dependent lethal and sublethal effects1–3. At sublethal levels they cause behavioural changes in the target pest species (for example in feeding and in mating behaviours), changes which are responsible for the protective effects on crops and livestock. Although many suggestions have been made for the underlying biochemical mechanism, including inhibition of monoamine oxidase activity, uncoupling of respiration and blockade of neuromuscular transmission1, no direct evidence has been presented. Another possibility is interaction with octopamine receptors in the central nervous system2,4,5. We report here that the formamidine acaricide/insecticide, chlordimeform (CDM), and its demethylated derivative can mimic the actions of octopamine at the locust neuromuscular junction. This gives the clearest evidence to date of the site of action of the formamidines and indicates a novel mode of action for these pesticides.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Beeman, R. W. & Matsumura, F. in Pesticide and Venom Neurotoxicity (eds Shankland, D. L., Hollingworth, R. M. & Smyth, T. Jr) 179–188 (Plenum, New York, 1978).

  2. 2

    Lund, A. E., Hollingworth, R. M. & Murdock, L. L. in Advances in Pesticide Science, Part 3 (ed. Geissbuehler, H.). 465–469 (Pergamon, Oxford, 1979).

  3. 3

    Lund, A. E., Hollingworth, R. M. & Shankland, D. L. Pest. Biochem. Physiol. 11, 117–128, (1979).

  4. 4

    Murdock, L. L. & Hollingworth, R. M. in Insect Neurobiology and Pesticide Action, 415–422 (Soc. Chem. Ind., London, 1980).

  5. 5

    Hollingworth, R. M. & Murdock, L. L. Science 208, 74–76 (1980).

  6. 6

    Carlson, A. D. J. exp. Biol. 49, 195–199 (1968).

  7. 7

    Nathanson, J. A. Science 203, 65–68 (1979).

  8. 8

    Evans, P. D. & O'Shea, M. Nature 270, 275–279 (1977).

  9. 9

    Evans, P. D. & O'Shea, M. J. exp. Biol. 73, 235–260 (1978).

  10. 10

    O'Shea, M. & Evans, P. D. J. exp. Biol. 79, 169–190 (1979).

  11. 11

    Evans, P. D. in Receptors for Neurotransmitters, Hormones and Pheromones in Insects (eds Sattelle, D. B., Hall, L. M. & Hildebrand, J. G.) 147–158 (Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1980).

  12. 12

    Buchan, P. B. & Evans, P. D. J. exp. Biol. 85, 349–352 (1980).

  13. 13

    Knowles, C. O. & Schuntner, C. A. J. Aust. ent. Soc. 13, 11–16 (1974).

  14. 14

    Hoyle, G. J. exp. Zool. 193, 425–431 (1975).

Download references

Author information


  1. ARC Unit of Invertebrate Chemistry and Physiology, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK

    • Peter D. Evans
  2. Pfizer Central Research, Pfizer Limited, Sandwich, Kent, CT13 9NJ, UK

    • Julian D. Gee


  1. Search for Peter D. Evans in:

  2. Search for Julian D. Gee in:

About this article

Publication history



Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.