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Mercury and Trace Elements in Crayfish from Northern California

Abstract

We collected two species of crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus and Procambarus clarkii, from Cache and Putah Creeks, California, and analyzed them for mercury and trace elements. Trace elements were higher in carcasses in 40 cases, higher in tails in 5 cases, and not different in 35 cases; no concentration exceeded levels considered harmful. Mercury concentrations were similar among sites, with no overall sex or species effect in tails. Mercury and methylmercury concentrations were higher in tails at all sites. Methylmercury concentrations in crayfish tails (0.156–0.256 μg/g) exceeded concentrations reported in health advisories for consumption of fish and crayfish from these watersheds.

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Acknowledgments

J. O’Keefe assisted with field collections. Access to study sites was granted by managers of Wilbur Hot Springs Resort, Payne Ranch, Bear Valley Ranch, Heidrich Farms, Homestake Mining Company, Conaway Ranch, Syar Industries, Inc., and numerous private landowners. D. Cain, J. Yee, and M. Saiki reviewed earlier drafts of this manuscript. Funding was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Environmental Contaminants Investigations Program (Project 1130 1F22). The California Department of Fish and Game granted permission to collect specimens for the study. Any use of trade, product, or firm names in this publication is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

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Correspondence to Roger L. Hothem.

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Hothem, R.L., Bergen, D.R., Bauer, M.L. et al. Mercury and Trace Elements in Crayfish from Northern California. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 79, 628–632 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-007-9304-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-007-9304-6

Keywords

  • Mercury
  • Crayfish
  • California
  • Trace elements