TitleSensitivity to nitrate and nitrite in pond-breeding amphibians from the Pacific northwest, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsMarco, A, Quilchano, C, Blaustein, AR
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Type of ArticleJournal Article

In static experiments, we studied the effects of nitrate and nitrite solutions on newly hatched larvae of five species of amphibians, namely Rana pretiosa, Rana aurora, Bufo boreas, Hyla regilla, and Ambystoma gracile. When nitrate or nitrite ions were added to the water, some larvae of some species reduced feeding activity, swam less vigorously, showed disequilibrium and paralysis, suffered abnormalities and edemas, and eventually died. The observed effects increased with both concentration and time, and there were significant differences in sensitivity among species. Ambrystoma gracile displayed the highest acute effect in water with nitrate and nitrite. The three ranid species had acute effects in water with nitrite. In chronic exposures, R, pretiosa was the most sensitive species to nitrates and nitrites. All species showed 15-d LC50s lower than 2 mg N-NO2-/L. For both N ions, B. boreas was the least sensitive amphibian. All species showed a high mortality at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-recommended limits of nitrite for warm-water fishes (5 mg N-NO2-/L) and a significant larval mortality at the recommended limits of nitrite concentration for drinking water (1 mg N-NO2-/L). The recommended levels of nitrate for warm-water fishes (90 mg N-NO3-/L) were highly toxic for R. pretiosa and A. gracile larvae.

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