Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 511-517

First online:

Subchronic Toxic Effects of Fluoride Ion on the Survival and Behaviour of the Aquatic Snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae, Mollusca)

  • Álvaro AlonsoAffiliated withDepartamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Alcalá Email author 
  • , Julio A. CamargoAffiliated withDepartamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Alcalá

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Short-term bioassays usually assess lethal effects of pollutants in animals, whereas subchronic bioassays are more suited for assessing effects on animal behaviour. Among them, videotaped bioassays are an improvement in the behavioural monitoring because they are easily and cheaply implemented. The present study focuses on the assessment of subchronic (14-day) effects of fluoride ion on the survival, proportion of dead plus immobile animals, and velocity (monitored by a videotaping and image analysis system) of the aquatic snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Hydrobiidae, Mollusca). One control and three nominal fluoride concentrations (5, 20, and 40 mg F/l [actual mean concentrations of 5.2, 17.5, and 37.0 mg F/l, respectively]) were used. Each treatment (including the control) was replicated 12 times. Mortality, number of dead plus immobile animals, and velocity were monitored after 0, 7, and 14 days of exposure. After 14 days, animals exposed to 40 mg F/l showed higher mortality, number of dead, and immobile individuals than control animals. Snails exposed to 5 and 20 mg F/l were not affected by fluoride ion regarding these endpoints. In contrast, snails exposed to 20 mg F/l for 7 and 14 days showed lower velocity than control animals. Therefore, velocity was sensitive to environmental fluoride concentrations and as such is a useful parameter for ecologic risk assessment. In addition, videotaping allowed us to detect behavioural patrons in velocity at very short exposures (seconds) during the monitoring process by showing that the velocity of snails must be monitored at least during the course of several minutes. We conclude that in P. antipodarum, velocity is a more sensitive endpoint than the classic mortality and immobility endpoints.