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Effects of chronic dietary exposure to trace elements on banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata) : Reptile ecotoxicology
HOPKINS William A. ; ROE John H. ; SNODGRASS Joel W. ; ...
Little currently is known about the accumulation or effects of contaminants on reptiles. To date, most studies examining reptile exposure to trace elements report tissue burdens of field-captured animals, but seldom provide insight into the dose, duration, or mode of exposure involved. For two years, we fed juvenile banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata) prey items collected from a coal ash-contaminated site that contained elevated levels of As, Cd, Cu, Se, Sr, and V. With the exception of Cu, snakes accumulated significant concentrations of elements, usually in a dose-dependent manner. Accumulation varied significantly among liver, kidney, and gonads, and in most cases between sexes. Selenium accumulation was most notable, greatly exceeding established toxicity thresholds for other vertebrates. Despite the high concentrations of pollutants accumulated, snakes exposed to the contaminated diet survived through the study and exhibited normal food consumption, growth, condition factor, overwinter survival and mass loss, metabolic rate, and gonadosomatic index. The results of this study confirm that diet can be a significant route of exposure to trace elements in snakes and indicate that further studies on snakes are warranted to better understand their responses to contaminants.
PMID : 12013136 ISSN : 0730-7268 CODEN : ETOCDK
Environmental toxicology and chemistry A. 2002, vol. 21, n° 5, pp. 906-913 [bibl. : 20 ref.]
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