Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 281–285 | Cite as

Occurrence of vertebral deformities in Gobiidae (Pisces) from the Tagus estuary

  • Pedro Lopes Da Cunha
  • Maria Margarida Antunes


In four species of gobiid fish caught in Tagus estuary during 1996, the incidence of skeletal deformities ranged from 2 to 5%. Differences between sampling stations or between the two most abundant species Pomatoschistus minutus and Gobius niger were statistically not significant (p > 0.05). The type of deformity depended upon species. P. minutus and P. microps showed bone nodules at the inferior side of the abdominal vertebrae, whilst G. niger and G. paganellus had shortened caudal vertebrae (achondroplasia) and deformed ural plates. The possible role of pollution or other conditions in the Tagus estuary is discussed.

Gobiidae Portugal Tagus teratology 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Antunes MM (1995) A ictiofauna como bioindicadora de impactes ambientais da actividade industrial. Provas para acesso à categoria de Assistente de Investigação, INETI, 111 ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Bengtsson BE (1979) Vertebral damage in fish induced by pollutants. In: Koeman, JH and Strik, JJTWA, eds., Sublethal effects of toxic chemicals on aquatic animals. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 23–30Google Scholar
  3. Bengtsson, BE (1988) Effects of pulp mill effluents on skeletal parameters in fish — a progress repport. Wat Sci Tech 20: 87–94Google Scholar
  4. Casillas E, Misitano D, Johnson L, Rhodes L, Collier T, Stein J, McCain B & Varanasi U (1991) Inducibility of spawning and reproductive sucess of female English sole (Parophrys vetulus) from urban and nonurban areas of Puget Sound, Washington. Mar Env Res 31: 99–122Google Scholar
  5. Costa MJ (1982) Contribution à l'étude de l'écologie des poissons de l'estuaire du Tage (Portugal). Thèse, Université Paris VII, 257 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Costa MJ and Cabral HN (1999) Changes in the Tagus nursery function for commercial fish species: some perspectives for management. (this issue)Google Scholar
  7. Dahlberg DM (1970) Frequencies of abnormalities in Georgia estuarine fishes. Trans Am Fish Soc, 99(1): 95–97Google Scholar
  8. Daoulas C, Economou A and Bantavas I (1991) Osteological abnormalities in laboratory reared sea-bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) fingerlings. Aquaculture 97(2/3): 169–180Google Scholar
  9. De Bettencourt AMM, Andreae MD, Cai Y, Somes ML, Schebek L, Vilas Boas LF and Rapsomanikis S (1999) Organotin in the Tagus estuary. Aquat Ecol 33: 271–280 (this issue)Google Scholar
  10. Hardig J, Andersson T, Bengtsson B-E, Forlin L and Larsson Å (1988) Long-term effets of bleached kraft mill effluents on red and white blood cell status, ion balance and vertebral structure in fish. Ecotoxicol Env Safety 15: 96–106Google Scholar
  11. Hodson PV, McWhirter M, Ralph K, Gray B, Gagnon M, Thivierge D. and Carey J. (1990) Effects of bleached kraft mill effluent on fish in the St. Maurice River, Quebec. Proc. of the 19th Annual Aquatic Toxicity Workshop, Vancouver, B. C. Can Tech Rept Fish Aquat Sci No 1774 2: 720–724Google Scholar
  12. Karr JR, Fausch KD, Angermeier PL, Yant PR and Schlosser IJ (1986) Assessing biological integrity in running waters. A method and its rationale. Illinois Natural History Survey, Special Publication, 5: 28 ppGoogle Scholar
  13. Landahl JT, McCain BB, Myers MS, Rhodes LD and Brown DW (1990) Consistent associations between hepatic lesions (including neoplasms) in English sole (Parophrys vetulus) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in bottom sediments. Env Health Perspectives 89: 195–203Google Scholar
  14. Lindesjöö E & Thulin J (1992). A skeletal deformity of northern pike (Esox lucius) related to pulp mill effluents. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 49(1): 166–172Google Scholar
  15. McCain B, Brown D, Krahn M, Myers M, Clark R, Chan S and Malins D (1988) Marine Pollution problems, North American Coast. Aquat Toxicol 11: 143–162Google Scholar
  16. O'Connor J and Huggett R (1988) Aquatic pollution problems, North Atlantic Coast, including Chesapeake Bay. Aquat Toxicol 11: 163–190Google Scholar
  17. Sandstrom O, Neuman E and Karas P (1988) Effects of a bleached pulp mill effluent on growth and gonad function in Baltic coastal fish. Wat Sci Tech 20: 107–118Google Scholar
  18. Slooff W (1982) Skeletal anomalies in fish from polluted surface waters. Aquat Toxicol 2: 157–173Google Scholar
  19. Sulaiman N, George S and Burke MD (1991) Assessment of sublethal pollutant impact on flounders in an industrialised estuary using hepatic biochemical indices. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 68: 207–212Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pedro Lopes Da Cunha
    • 1
  • Maria Margarida Antunes
    • 1
  1. 1.Azinhaga dos Lameiros à estrada do Paço do LumiarLisboa CodexPortugal (E-mail

Personalised recommendations