Anuran tadpoles are found in a variety of habitats, many of which are acidified or have high ambient concentrations of metals from anthropogenic sources. A few studies that have been conducted on metals in tadpoles demonstrate that they can contain high concentrations of some metals but have not demonstrated clear relationships between ambient conditions and metal concentrations. This study examines the influence of soil, water treatment, amphibian species, and body portion analyzed on metal concentration in tadpoles. In northern cricket frogs, gray treefrogs, and green frogs, concentrations of Al and Fe exceeded I0000 g.g-1 and Mg and Mn exceeded 1000 g g-1. Body concentrations of Ba, Be, Fe, Mg, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Sr increased with soil concentrations. Acidification reduced body concentrations of Be and Sr, and pH correlated with Be, Mg, and Sr. Gray treefrogs had significantly lower concentrations of most metals compared to northern cricket frogs, possibly because of differences in microhabitats and soil ingestion. More than half of most metals was sequestered in the gut coil of green frog tadpoles, probably mixed with soil. Depending on bio-availability, many of the metals in gut coils and whole bodies of these tadpoles could be potentially toxic to predators.
Additional publication details
Metal concentrations of tadpoles in experimental ponds