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Environ Int. 2003 Mar;28(8):737-42.

Effects of cadmium and zinc on larval growth and survival in the ground beetle, Pterostichus oblongopunctatus.

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Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, 291 McCormick Rd., P.O. Box 400123, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4123, USA.


Carabid beetles, like Pterostichus oblongopunctatus, living in metal contaminated areas may be exposed to elevated levels of metals within their diets. However, when compared to other second order consumers, they have one of the lowest observed levels of metals, indicating methods of detoxification to deal with such toxicants. In this study, we investigated if chronic, multigenerational exposure to metals leads to resistance to toxic metal concentrations, and if so, what are the costs associated with them. Adult organisms were collected from two sites, a polluted and a reference site near Olkusz, in southern Poland. These adults were immediately mated, and eggs were collected twice weekly to assess the effects in the larvae of the F(1) generation. Larvae were randomly exposed to one of four artificial mediums: control, 50 mg kg(-1) Cd, 500 mg kg(-1) Zn, and a combined treatment of 50 mg kg(-1) Cd and 500 mg kg(-1) Zn to investigate possible interactions. Individuals were sacrificed at 10, 30, and 40 days. Although metals were not accumulated in larvae (p>0.05), larvae fed the Cd or the Zn treatment grew significantly slower, and had the lowest survival rate (p<0.05) in respect to control. Out of metal treated animals, those on the combined treatment of CdZn grew the quickest and had the highest observed survival (p<0.05). Although previous studies have demonstrated changes in adult population parameters under chronic, multigeneration exposure to toxic metal concentrations, our study did not reveal any changes in the larval stage.

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