Xenopus laevis larvae were exposed to cadmium (Cd) at 0, 1, 8, 85 or 860 ??g L-1 in FETAX medium from 0 to 86 d postfertilization. Premetamorphic tadpoles were sampled on day 31; pre and prometamorphic tadpoles on day 49; and frogs (NF stage 66) between days 50 and 86. Survival, snout-vent length (SVL), tail length, total length, hindlimb length (HLL), initiation of metamorphic climax, size at and completion of metamorphosis, and gonadal condition and sex ratio (assessed histologically) were determined. Survival was unaffected by Cd until day 49, but increased mortality was observed after day 49 at 860 ??g Cd L-1. On day 31, when tadpoles were in early premetamorphosis, inhibitory effects on tadpole growth were observed only at 860 ??g Cd L-1. On day 49, when most tadpoles where in late premetamorphosis/early prometamorphosis, reductions in SVL, HLL and total length were observed at 8 and 860 but not 85 ??g L-1, thus creating a U-shaped size distribution at 0-85 ??g Cd L-1. However, this U-shaped size pattern was not evident in postmetamorphic individuals. In fact, frog size at completion of metamorphosis was slightly smaller at 85 ??g Cd L-1relative to control animals. These observations confirmed a recent report of a Cd concentration-dependent bimodal growth pattern in late-premetamorphic Xenopus tadpoles, but also showed that growth responses to varying Cd concentrations change with development. The fraction of animals initiating or completing metamorphosis during days 50-86 was reduced in a Cd concentration-dependent manner. Testicular histology and population sex ratios were unaffected by Cd suggesting that, unlike mammals, Cd is not strongly estrogenic in Xenopus tadpoles. ?? 2009 Elsevier Ltd.
Additional publication details
Effects of cadmium on growth, metamorphosis and gonadal sex differentiation in tadpoles of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis