Eggs, larvae and sub-adults of the southern leopard frog Rana sphenocephala were exposed to endrin and toxaphene. Exposure was in water by a continuous-flow technique, following standards that have been used successfully in the study of fish and invertebrates. R. sphenocephala is more sensitive to both pesticides than are higher vertebrates but is slightly less sensitive than fish. Eggs seem to be resistant to the effects of both pesticides and are probably poor indicators of environmental hazard. The toxic level of endrin is about equal in larvae and transformed frogs (LC50, 0?005-0?015 ppm). Toxaphene is less toxic to sub-adults (LC50, 0?37-0?790 ppm) than to larvae (LC50, 0?032-0?054 ppm). Delayed mortality, behavioural aberrations and effects on growth have been seen in toxaphene-dosed larvae observed over 30-day periods. Behavioural effects are more severe than those reported in other groups of animals. Effects on growth resulting from a 96-h exposure begin in the 0?013-0?018 ppm range. The maximum accumulation of residues observed for each chemical represented bioconcentration factors of about 100. Endrin residues are apparently lost more readily than toxaphene residues; relative depuration rates correlate well with the time course of toxic action in each chemical. Although less sensitive to these pesticides than fish, amphibians may not be protected in their natural habitats. Future studies of the effects of toxicants on amphibians should employ larvae if only one stage can be tested, should expose subjects for at least 96 h and should continue observations for a total of at least 30 days.
Additional publication details
Toxic effects of endrin and toxaphene on the southern leopard frog Rana sphenocephala