Contaminants in American alligator eggs from Lake Apopka, Lake Griffin, and Lake Okeechobee, Florida
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Residues of organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and 16 elements were measured in American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) eggs collected in 1984 from Lakes Apopka, Griffin, and Okeechobee in central and south Florida. Organochlorine pesticides were highest in eggs from Lake Apopka. None of the elements appeared to be present at harmful concentrations in eggs from any of the lakes. A larger sample of eggs was collected in 1985, but only from Lakes Griffin, a lake where eggs were relatively clean, and Apopka, where eggs were most contaminated. In 1985, hatching success of artificially incubated eggs was lower for Lake Apopka, and several organochlorine pesticides were higher than in eggs from Lake Griffin. However, within Lake Apopka, higher levels of pesticides in chemically analyzed eggs were not associated with reduced hatching success of the remaining eggs in the clutch. Therefore, it did not appear that any of the pesticides we measured were responsible for the reduced hatching success of Lake Apopka eggs.
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