Effects of atrazine on embryos, larvae, and adults of anuran amphibians

J W Allran, W H Karasov
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 2001, 20 (4): 769-75
We examined the effects of atrazine (0-20 mg/L) on embryos, larvae, and adult anuran amphibian species in the laboratory. Atrazine treatments did not affect hatchability of embryos or 96-h posthatch mortality of larvae of Rana pipiens, Rana sylvatica, or Bufo americanus. Furthermore, atrazine had no effect on swimming speed (measured for R. pipiens only). However, there was a dose-dependent increase in deformed larvae of all three species with increasing atrazine concentration. In adult R. pipiens, atrazine increased buccal and thoracic ventilation, indicating respiratory distress. However, because atrazine had no affect on hemoglobin, this respiratory distress was probably not indicative of reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Frogs exposed to the highest atrazine concentration stopped eating immediately after treatment began and did not eat during the 14-d experiment. However, no decreases in mass were measured even for frogs that were not eating, probably because of compensatory fluid gain from edema. Atrazine concentrations found to be deleterious to amphibian embryos and adults are considerably higher than concentrations currently found in surface waters in North America. Therefore, direct toxicity of atrazine is probably not a significant factor in recent amphibian declines.

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