Marine Biology

, Volume 137, Issue 4, pp 691–703 | Cite as

Heavy metal contamination and physiological variability in the Brazilian mangrove crabs Ucides cordatus and Callinectes danae (Crustacea: Decapoda)

  • R. R. Harris
  • M. C. F. Santos


 Physiological studies were made on the crabs Ucides cordatus (L.) and Callinectes danae sampled from populations living in “polluted” mangroves on the southeast littoral of Brazil. Analysis of Cu, Cd, Zn, and Fe of sediments and crab tissues showed interspecific differences in tissue concentrations, and significantly higher levels of Cu, Cd, and Zn in “polluted” populations compared to “unpolluted” crabs living in uncontaminated mangrove in the same geographical area. Individuals of both species from the polluted site showed significantly greater capacities for regulating blood osmotic concentrations at low salinity (9‰). However, U. cordatus showed a reduced hypo-regulatory ability in 34‰S. Differences in ionoregulation were also seen. “Polluted”C. danae showed significantly higher Na/ K-ATPase levels in posterior gills compared to “unpolluted” crabs. Oxygen consumption rates ( O2) were elevated in U. cordatus, but depressed in C. danae from the “polluted” population. Individuals of both species from this site showed significantly lower O:N ratios, mainly because of an increased net efflux of ammonia. Adenylate energy charge (AEC) values of muscle and hepatopancreas in “unpolluted” and “polluted” populations of both species were not significantly different. These physiological differences are discussed in relation to the known acute physiological and metabolic effects of heavy metals in crustaceans, and interpretated in the light of possible adaptive changes following long-term exposure to contamination.


Heavy Metal Metal Contamination Tissue Concentration Oxygen Consumption Rate Adaptive Change 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. R. Harris
    • 1
  • M. C. F. Santos
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biology, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, England Fax: 0044 (0) 116 2523330 e-mail:
  2. 2.Departamento de Fisiologia e Centro de Biologia Marinha(CEBIMar), Universidade de São Paulo, CP 11461, São Paulo, BrazilBR

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