Mercury contamination in three species of anuran amphibians from the Cache Creek Watershed, California, USA
Fish and wildlife may bioaccumulate mercury (Hg) to levels that adversely affect reproduction, growth, and survival. Sources of Hg within the Cache Creek Watershed in northern California have been identified, and concentrations of Hg in invertebrates and fish have been documented. However, bioaccumulation of Hg by amphibians has not been evaluated. In this study, adult and juvenile American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) and foothill yellow-legged frogs (Rana boylii), adult Northern Pacific treefrogs (Pseudacris regilla), and larval bullfrogs were collected and analyzed for total Hg. One or more species of amphibians from 40% of the 35 sites had mean Hg concentrations greater than the US Environmental Protection Agency’s tissue residue criterion for fish (0.3 μg/g). Of the bullfrog tissues analyzed, the liver had the highest concentrations of both total Hg and methyl mercury. Total Hg in carcasses of bullfrogs was highly correlated with total Hg in leg muscle, the tissue most often consumed by humans.
KeywordsAmphibians Bioaccumulation American bullfrog Cache Creek California Foothill yellow-legged frog Lithobates catesbeianus Mercury Northern Pacific treefrog Pseudacris regilla Rana boylii
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