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Differences in the effects of mercury on predator avoidance in two populations of the grass shrimp palaemonetes pugio






Marine Environmental Research 18(4): 277-290

Differences in the effects of mercury on predator avoidance in two populations of the grass shrimp palaemonetes pugio

Adult Palaemonetes pugio were collected from two tidal creek systems, Piles Creek (PC) [New Jersey, USA], a mercury polluted estuary, and Big Sheepshead Creek-(BSC), a relatively pristine creek. Adult killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus), a natural predator of P. pugio, were obtained from BSC. For each test, ten treated (0.01 mg/liter mercuric chloride (HgCl), or 0.01 mg/liter methylmercuric chloride (MeHg)), or control shrimp were introduced into a tank containing three fish. The time between capture of the first and second BSC HgCl treated shrimp was significantly faster (P < 0.05), as was the time between the first and second capture (P < 0.05) of MeHg treated BSC shrimp when compared with their respective controls. In addition, significantly more (P < 0.025) BSC HgCl treated shrimp were captured after 120 min. No significant difference existed between control and HgCl treated PC shrimp; however, significantly more PC MeHg treated shrimp were captured after 60 (P < 0.05) min when compared with their respective controls. These data suggest that PC shrimp, subjected to mercury in their natural environment, are more tolerant to the sublethal effects of both HgCl and MeHg. These data also suggest that behavioral studies can be very sensitive assays for determining the effects of sublethal concentrations of toxicants on populations of organisms.

Accession: 005151246

DOI: 10.1016/0141-1136(86)90027-9

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