Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 2623–2634 | Cite as

Monitoring the morphological integrity of neotropical anurans

  • Rinneu Elias BorgesEmail author
  • Lia Raquel de Souza Santos
  • Rhayane Alves Assis
  • Marcelino Benvindo-Souza
  • Lilian Franco-Belussi
  • Classius de Oliveira
Research Article


Amphibians are considered to be excellent bioindicators to their morphophysiological characteristics and life cycle. In this context, the present study investigated the morphological integrity of anuran larvae collected in preserved environments in the Emas National Park, in the municipality of Mineiros (Goiás state, Brazil), and in environments representative of the agricultural matrix of the Rio Verde region, also in Goiás, where there is a long history of the use of agricultural pesticides. Samples of water from temporary ponds, permanent dams, and veredas were analyzed for the presence of pesticides and, especially atrazine (5350 μg/L), found at significantly higher concentrations in the agricultural matrix. We observed a high percentage (approximately 10%) of morphological malformations including alterations of the fins in Boana albopunctatus and Scinax fuscovarius; alteration in oral structures in B. albopunctatus, Dematonotus muelleri, Physalaemus centralis, Physalaemus cuvieri, and Leptodactylus fuscus mainly in the tadpoles collected in the agricultural environment in comparison with those from the protected area (3.5%; P < 0.0001, χ2 31.75). However, changes in the eyes, mouth, intestines, and nostrils, as well as amelia were observed only in the agricultural environment. The vast majority of the observed malformations were associated with the tail and oral disc, which suggests that these anatomical parameters may be used as sensitive morphological biomarkers. Given these findings, we reinforce that areas of agricultural land may have a deleterious effect on the morphological integrity of the tadpoles and consequently, on their development, and that these features may be used as indicators of environmental quality and health.


Amphibians Ecotoxicology Malformations Bioindicators Pesticides Agriculture 



We are grateful to the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for supporting this study through grant number 477044/2013-1, and the São Paulo State Research Foundation (FAPESP) for supporting laboratory procedures (process no. 2013/02067-5). LFB was also supported by a CAPES-PNPD postdoc fellowship during the final preparation of this manuscript. We also thank Rio Verde University (UniRV) for providing a researcher stipend, and the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (IBAMA/ICMBio) and the administration of Emas National Park for authorizing and supporting the fieldwork.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3779_MOESM1_ESM.doc (72 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 72 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversidade de Rio Verde, UniRVRio VerdeBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratory of Animal Biology, Instituto Federal GoianoIF GoianoRio VerdeBrazil
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversidade Estadual Paulista -Júlio de Mesquita Filho, UNESPSão José do Rio PretoBrazil
  4. 4.Institute of BiosciencesUniversidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, UFMSCampo GrandeBrazil

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