SREL Reprint #2247




Oral Deformities in Tadpoles of the Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Caused by Conditions in a Polluted Habitat




Morphological abnormalities in anurans can result from exposure to pollutants at some time during development (summarized in Tyler, 1989). Recently, a report described a high incidence (85-96%) of occurrence of oral deformities in tadpoles of the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) collected in an area polluted by coal combustion wastes (Rowe et al., 1996). The polluted site was characterized by high levels of As, Ba, Cd, Cr, and Se in sediments and tadpole tissues compared with reference sites in which deformities were infrequent or absent. Despite a high frequency of deformities in tadpoles collected from the polluted site, Rowe et al. (1996) presented no experimental evidence to verify a causal relationship between environmental conditions and oral deformities.

In this experiment, we tested for a causative relationship between the site in which bullfrogs developed during the embryonic and early larval period and presence of oral deformities. We reciprocally transplanted fresh egg masses of bullfrogs collected from the coal ash-polluted site and an unpolluted reference pond to test the main and interactive effects of the site in which tadpoles developed and the site inhabited by the parents, on the frequency of oral deformities in tadpoles.

SREL Reprint #2247

Rowe, C.L., O.M. Kinney, and J.D. Congdon. 1998. Oral deformities in tadpoles of the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) caused by conditions in a polluted habitat. Copeia 1:244-246.

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