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Acta Vet Scand. 2010 Nov 5;52:58. doi: 10.1186/1751-0147-52-58.

Yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis) and bank voles (Myodes glareolus) as zoomonitors of environmental contamination at a polluted area in Slovakia.

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Department of Zoology and Anthropology, Constantine the Philosopher University, Nábrezie mládeze 91, Nitra, Slovak Republic.



Free-living wild rodents are often used as zoomonitors of environmental contamination. In the present study, accumulation of cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn) in critical organs of yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis) and bank voles (Myodes glareolus) trapped in a polluted area in Nováky, Slovakia was investigated.


Yellow-necked mice (n = 8) and bank voles (n = 10) were collected using standard theriological methods for wood ecosystems. All animals were adult males in good physical condition. The concentrations of Cd, Cu, Fe, and Zn in the liver, kidney, and bone were determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.


The highest concentrations of Cd and Zn were found in the bone of both species while Cu and Fe accumulated mainly in kidney or liver. Significant higher concentrations of Cd and Cu were detected in the liver of bank voles than in yellow-necked mice. Similar significant higher levels of Cd and Zn were found in the bone of bank voles. In contrast, significant higher concentrations of Cu and Fe were present in the kidney of yellow-necked mice.


In the yellow-necked mouse and bank vole, bone seems to accumulate Cd and Zn following prolonged exposure. On the contrary, kidney and liver store Cu and Fe after a long-term environmental exposure. In the present study, bank voles seemed to be more heavy metal loaded zoomonitors than yellow-necked mice.

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