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Morphological abnormalities and heavy metal concentrations in anurans of contaminated areas, eastern Ukraine

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image of Applied Herpetology

High incidences of morphological abnormalities (mostly of limbs) and tumor-like dysplasias were recorded in three species of anurans (Bombina bombina, Bufo viridis, and Rana ridibunda) over 5 years in three areas of Dnepropetrovsk Province, eastern Ukraine. Wedescribe changes across years, and differences between species and developmental stages, in the frequency and types of deformity. The content of seven heavy metals (Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, Pb, Ni and Cd) was also analyzed in water bodies and in R. ridibunda (separately for 11 organs). Four main factors were discussed as possible causes of morphological abnormalities; biogeography (edge of range); hybridization; infection; environmental contamination. The latter was the most likely cause, with significant correlations between frequencies of deformities and levels of environmental contamination. There was substantial variation among organs in the levels of heavy metals in R. ridibunda, as found in other anurans. Highest values were most common in the spleen and fat bodies, organs neglected in previous studies of this type. The ranking and accumulation of heavy metals, as well as their toxic/teratogenic effects, were reviewed. An interaction between heavy metals, organic contaminants, and water acidity was the most likely cause of mass abnormalities observed in anurans in eastern Ukraine.

10.1163/157075403323012205
/content/journals/10.1163/157075403323012205
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/content/journals/10.1163/157075403323012205
2004-08-01
2016-12-09

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