Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 136, Issue 1–4, pp 147–163 | Cite as

Trace Element Concentrations in the Tissues of Proteus Anguinus (Amphibia, Caudata) and the Surrounding Environment

  • Boris BulogEmail author
  • Katarina Mihajl
  • Zvonka Jeran
  • Mihael J. Toman


The concentrations of some essential (Cu, Zn, Se) and some toxicelements (Hg, As) were determined in tissues (liver, kidneys, integument, and muscle) of the endemic cave salamander, Proteus anguinus Laurenti 1768 and Proteus anguinus parkelj ssp.n. captured in the Planina Cave, Kompolje Cave, and Jelševnik, all situated within the Dinaric Karst in Slovenia. The highest amounts of selenium and mercury were found in the liver of Proteus anguinus specimens from all three localities. Some of the animals from the Planina Cave showed higher concentrations of copper in the liver and muscle. Pigmented subspecies of Proteus from Jelševnik showedincreased values of arsenic in the integument and of zinc in theliver and integument. The liver of the animals contained the highest amounts of the metals analysed and therefore may be considered as a target organ. Metal levels were also measured inthe cave water and sediments. The waters were not polluted withmetals. However, the metals were relatively high in the sediments, but not to levels considered contaminated. In additionto our study of metal concentrations in Proteus tissues andhabitats, several water quality parameters were measured in the water of each locality. The main differences between the threelocalities concerned dissolved oxygen concentration and saturation, while all other physical and chemical parameterswere characteristic of the aquatic environment in the calcareousKarst region.

Amphibia cave habitat karst Proteus anguinus tissues trace elements 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boris Bulog
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katarina Mihajl
    • 1
  • Zvonka Jeran
    • 2
  • Mihael J. Toman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesJožef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia

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