Organochlorine residues and shell thicknesses were surveyed in eggs of the clapper rail (Rallus longirostris), purple gallinule (Porphyrula martinica), common gallinule (Gallinula chloropas), and limpkin (Aramus guarauna) from the eastern and southern United States. Clapper rail eggs were collected during 1972-73 in New Jersey, Virginia, and South Carolina. During 1973-74, gallinule eggs were collected in Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana, and limpkin eggs were collected in Florida. Egg contents were analyzed for residues of organochlorine pesticides, including DDT, TDE, DDE, dieldrin, mirex, heptachlor epoxide, oxychlordane, cis-chlordane (and/or trans-nonachlor), cis-nonachlor, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), toxaphene, and endrin, and for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Shell thicknesses of recent eggs of these species were compared with archival eggs that had been collected before 1947. With the exception of the limpkin, the majority of eggs analyzed contained residues of p,p'-DDE and PCBs. Geometric means ranged from 0.10 ppm to 1.3 ppm. Small amounts (less than 1.0 ppm) of mirex, dieldrin, cis-chlordane (and/or trans-nonachlor), TDE, and DDT were detected in a few eggs. No evidence of eggshell thinning was found for any of the species studied. DDE residues in clapper rail eggs were higher in New Jersey and Virginia than in South Carolina.
Additional publication details
Organochlorine residues and shell thickness in eggs of the clapper rail, common gallinule, purple gallinule, and limpkin (Class Aves), eastern and southern United States, 1972-74