Our objective was to determine how green frogs (Rana clamitans) are affected by multiple exposures to a sublethal level of the carbamate insecticide, carbaryl, in outdoor ponds. Tadpoles were added to 1,000-1 ponds at a low or high density which were exposed to carbaryl 0, 1, 2, or 3 times. Length of the larval period, mass, developmental stage, tadpole survival, and proportion metamorphosed were used to determine treatment effects. The frequency of dosing affected the proportion of green frogs that reached metamorphosis and the developmental stage of tadpoles. Generally, exposure to carbaryl increased rates of metamorphosis and development. The effect of the frequency of carbaryl exposure on development varied with the density treatment; the majority of metamorphs and the most developed tadpoles came from high-density ponds exposed to carbaryl 3 times. This interaction suggests that exposure to carbaryl later in the larval period stimulated metamorphosis, directly or indirectly, under high-density conditions. Our study indicates that exposure to a contaminant can lead to early initiation of metamorphosis and that natural biotic factors can mediate the effects of a contaminant in the environment.
Additional publication details
Growth and development of larval green frogs (Rana clamitans) exposed to multiple doses of an insecticide