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Influence of ammonium nitrate on larval anti-predatory responses of two amphibian species

AuthorsOrtiz-Santaliestra, Manuel E. ; Fernández-Benéitez, María José; Marco, Adolfo ; Lizana, Miguel
KeywordsBehavioural toxicology
Multiple stressors
Sublethal effects
Issue DateAug-2010
CitationAquatic Toxicology 99(2): 198-204 (2010)
AbstractSublethal effects of toxicants can upset normal behavioural responses to predators, leading to increased predation. For example, sensory capabilities can be impaired by toxicants, leading to difficulty in detecting predators or other threats. Alteration of locomotor abilities by pollutants can also explain the difficulty of tadpoles to escape from predators. Here we assess the effects of a nitrogenous fertilizer on the response to predators shown by anuran tadpoles. In a first experiment, we chronically exposed Iberian painted frog (Discoglossus galganoi) and spadefoot toad (Pelobates cultripes) tadpoles to environmentally relevant con- centrations of ammonium nitrate. After the exposure, we tested tadpoles’ ability to avoid predation by the red crayfish (Procambarus clarkii). In a second experiment, we analysed the escape behaviour of P. cultripes tadpoles as a function of ammonium nitrate exposure and presence of predatory crayfishes. Tadpoles of both species that were exposed to ammonium nitrate were consumed by crayfishes faster than con- trols (mean time of predation: Dg controls = 18.03 h, 90.3 mg N-NO3 NH4 /L = 7.48 h; Pc controls = 16.12 h, 90.3 mg N-NO3 NH4 /L = 9.46 h). Control larval P. cultripes showed specific anti-predator escape responses, whereas those exposed to the fertilizer did not. We demonstrate, for the first time in amphibians, how nitrogenous fertilizers can affect larval defensive behaviours, and thereby increase the risk of predation. Our results emphasize the importance of considering environmental stresses on the ecotoxicological studies with amphibians
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.04.020
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(IREC) Artículos
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