Cd Exposures in Fathead Minnows: Effects on Adult Spawning Success and Reproductive Physiology

  • Marlo K. Sellin
  • Alan S. Kolok


The primary objective of this study was to determine whether cadmium (Cd) exposures alter reproduction in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Pairs of sexually mature minnows were exposed to waterborne Cd at 0, 12.5, 25, or 50 μg/L for 21 days. During this exposure period, the reproductive success of pairs was assessed. Following the exposure, gonadosomatic index (GSI), male secondary sexual characteristics, male plasma 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT) concentrations, and female plasma estradiol (E2) concentrations were determined. Results of this study show that Cd exposures impair reproduction in fathead minnows. Pairs exposed to 50 μg/L experienced a significant decline in spawning frequency and fecundity relative to unexposed minnows. Cd exposures also caused alterations in male secondary sexual characteristics, as males exposed to 25 μg/L had significantly fewer nuptial tubercles than controls. Furthermore, males exposed to 12.5 μg/L Cd experienced a significant increase in plasma 11-KT concentrations relative to controls. No alterations in GSI or female plasma E2 concentrations were observed.


Reproductive Success Clutch Size Hatching Success Fathead Minnow Secondary Sexual Characteristic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was partially supported by the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Department of Biology, the UNO Graduate College, and by the Nebraska Water Center. Additional support was given by Environmental Protection Agency Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship no. 91636301-0, NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Science, grant 1 R15 ES11788-01, and NIH grant 1 P20 RR16469 from the BRIN Program of the National Center for Research Resources.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Nebraska at OmahaOmahaUSA

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