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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 1997 Feb;32(2):172-7.

Tissue-specific accumulation patterns of pb, cd, cu, zn, fe, and Mn inWorkers of three ant species (Formicidae, hymenoptera) from a metal-polluted site.

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  • Department of Ecophysiology, Institute of Zoology, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


The present study compares the metal levels (Pb, Cd, Cu,Zn, Fe, Mn) in different tissues of workers of the ant species Formicapratensis Retzius, Formica polyctena (Förster), andCamponotus ligniperda (Latreille) collected from a metal-pollutedsite. In all species, highest metal levels were found in the midgut, followedby the malpighian tubules and the hindgut. Additional target sites were themandibles and ovarioles for Zn and Pb, Cu, Zn, and Fe, respectively. Amongthe investigated exocrine glands, highest metal levels were found in theDufour gland and in the labial gland. The tissue-specific metal accumulationpattern of the three ant species is governed by the degree of site pollutionand biased by species-specific properties. In congruence with theenvironmental pollution at the sampling sites, a general comparison of thetissue metal concentrations between the species revealed highest levels ofPb, Cd, and Zn in F. pratensis. Although F. polyctena andC. ligniperda individuals were taken from the same sampling site, thetissue metal levels differed substantially from each other.

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