Blue crab mortality: Interaction of temperature and DDT residues

  • Christopher C. Koenig
  • Robert J. Livingston
  • Claude R. Cripe


Serial observations of DDT-contaminated and uncontaminated salt marshes in the northern Gulf of Mexico were made in November and December, 1973. Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) mortalities observed in the DDT-contaminated marsh during this period were correlated with reduced daily temperature minima. Gas chromatographic analysis of hepatopancreas and swimmeret muscle tissue of dead and dying crabs revealed total DDT residue concentrations as high as 39.0 ppm and 1.43 ppm, respectively. It is suggested that the DDT body burdens and reduced temperatures interact to produce acutely toxic effects. Several physiological and behavioral mechanisms are proposed.


Toxic Effect Muscle Tissue Salt Marsh Temperature Minimum Chromatographic Analysis 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, J. M.: Assessment of the effects of pollutants on physiology and behavior. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B.177, 307 (1971).Google Scholar
  2. Butler, P. A.: Commercial fishery investigations, p. 65–77. In Effects of pesticides on fish and wildlife. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Serv., Circ. No. 226 (1965).Google Scholar
  3. Butler, P. A.: The significance of DDT residues in estuarine fauna, p. 205–220. In M. W. Miller and G. G. Berg (eds.) Chemical fallout: Current research on persistent pesticides. Illinois: C. C. Thomas Company (1969).Google Scholar
  4. Butler, P. A., and P. F. Springer: Pesticides — a new factor in coastal environments. Trans. 28th N. Amer. Wildlife Nat. Res. Conf., p. 378–390 (1963).Google Scholar
  5. Carriker, M. R.: Ecology of estuarine benthic invertebrates: A perspective, p. 442–487. In G. H. Lauff (ed.) Estuaries. Amer. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Publ. No. 83 (1967).Google Scholar
  6. Commercial Fisheries Review DDT. Commercial Fisheries Review8, 30 (1946).Google Scholar
  7. Cottom, C., and E. Higgins: DDT: its effects on fish and wildlife. U. S. Fish and Wildlf. Serv., Circular No. 11, 14 p. (1946).Google Scholar
  8. Darnell, R. M.: Studies of the life history of the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) in Louisiana waters. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc.88, 294 (1959).Google Scholar
  9. Holan, G.: New halocyclopropane insecticides and the mode of action of DDT. Nature221, 1025 (1969).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Lowe, J. I.: Chronic exposure of blue crabs,Callinectes sapidus, to sublethal concentrations of DDT. Ecology46, 900 (1965).Google Scholar
  11. Manhood, R. K., M. D. McKenzie, D. P. Middaugh, S. J. Bollar, J. R. Davis, and D. Spitzbergen: A report on the cooperative blue crab study — South Atlantic states. U. S. Dept. Interior, B.C.F. 32 p (1970).Google Scholar
  12. Mills, H. R.: Deaths in Florida marshes. Audubon54, 285 (1952).Google Scholar
  13. O'Brien, R. D.: Insecticides action and metabolism. New York: Academic Press, 332 p (1967).Google Scholar
  14. Odum, W. E.: Insidious alteration of the estuarine environment. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc.99, 836 (1970).Google Scholar
  15. Odum, W. E., G. M. Woodwell, and C. F. Wurster: DDT residue adsorbed from organic detritus by fiddler crabs. Science164, 576 (1969).Google Scholar
  16. Peterson, R. H.: Temperature selection of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) as influenced by various chlorinated hydrocarbons. J. Fish. Res. Bd. Can.30, 1091 (1973).Google Scholar
  17. Pyle, R. W., and L. F. Cronin: The general anatomy of the blue crab,Callinectes sapidus. Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Solomons, Md., Publ. No. 87, 40 p (1950).Google Scholar
  18. Springer, P. F., and J. R. Webster: Biological effects of DDT applications on tidal salt marshes. Mosquito News11, 67 (1951).Google Scholar
  19. Thompson, N. P., P. W. Rankin, and D. W. Johnston: Polychlorinated biphenyls andp,p′-DDE in green turtle eggs from Ascension Island South Atlantic Ocean. Bull. Environ. Contamin. Toxicol.11, 399 (1974).Google Scholar
  20. Woodwell, G. M., C. F. Wurster, and P. A. Isaacson: DDT residues in an east coast estuary: a case of biological concentration of a persistent insecticide. Science156, 821 (1967).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Woodwell, G. M., P. P. Craig, and H. A. Johnson: DDT in the biosphere: Where does it go? Science174, 1101 (1971).PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher C. Koenig
    • 1
  • Robert J. Livingston
    • 1
  • Claude R. Cripe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological ScienceFlorida State UniversityTallahassee

Personalised recommendations