Toxicity of metals and low pH to embryos and larvae of the Jefferson salamander, Ambystoma jeffersoniannum

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Field and laboratory studies were undertaken to determine if low pH and five metals commonly found in some ponds (Al, Cu, Fe, Pb, and Zn) might interfere with the ability of the Jefferson salamander, Ambystoma jeffersonianum, to successfully reproduce. The presence of Jefferson salamander breeding, embryonic survival, and hatching success in ten temporary ponds was correlated with levels of measured water chemistry variables (alkalinity, NO3, SO4, SiO2, DOC, PO4, Na, K, Ca, Mg, Al, Cu, Fe, Pb, Zn, pH, conductivity, TDS, temperature, and DO).

Jefferson salamander embryos (4 days post-fertilization) and 4 day post-hatch larvae were exposed to Al, Cu, Fe, Pb, and Zn at four levels and at two pHs (4.50 and 5.50) which bracketed levels commonly found in nature in temporary ponds in central Pennsylvania. Hatching success was influenced by Al and Zn. Increasing Al, Pb, and Zn concentrations had significant effects on developmental rate. Egg mass embryonic mortality was influenced by Al, Cu, and Fe. Larval mortality was significantly affected by Cu, Fe, and Zn. In conclusion, the presence of metals in temporary ponds has both positive and negative effects on reproductive success of the Jefferson salamander.

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Correspondence to M. T. Horne.

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Horne, M.T., Dunson, W.A. Toxicity of metals and low pH to embryos and larvae of the Jefferson salamander, Ambystoma jeffersoniannum . Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 29, 110–114 (1995).

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  • SiO2
  • Alkalinity
  • Reproductive Success
  • Water Chemistry
  • Chemistry Variable