DAO 104:163-171 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02592

Abnormalities in amphibian populations inhabiting agroecosystems in northeastern Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

M. G. Agostini1,*, F. Kacoliris2, P. Demetrio1, G. S. Natale1, C. Bonetto3, A. E. Ronco1

1CONICET, CIMA Centro de Investigaciones del Medio Ambiente, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), La Plata 1900, Argentina
2CONICET, Sección Herpetología, Departamento de Vertebrados, Museo de Ciencias Naturales, UNLP, La Plata 1900, Argentina
3Instituto de Limnología Dr. Ringuelet, UNLP, CONICET, La Plata 1900, Argentina

ABSTRACT: The occurrence of abnormalities in amphibians has been reported in many populations, and its increase could be related to environmental pollution and habitat degradation. We evaluated the type and prevalence of abnormalities in 5 amphibian populations from agroecosystems with different degrees of agricultural disturbance (cultivated and reference areas). We detected 9 types of abnormalities, of which the most frequent were those occurring in limbs. The observed prevalence of abnormality in assessed populations from cultivated and reference areas was as follows: Rhinella fernandezae (37.1 and 10.2%, respectively), Leptodactylus latrans adults (28.1 and 9.2%) and juveniles (32.9 and 15.3%), and Hypsiboas pulchellus (11.6 and 2.8%). Scinax granulatus populations did not show abnormalities. Pseudis minuta, which was only detected in the reference area, exhibited a prevalence of 13.3%. For R. fernandezae, L. latrans, and H. pulchellus, generalized linear mixed models showed that prevalence of abnormalities was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in cultivated than in reference areas. L. latrans juveniles were more vulnerable to abnormalities than adults (p < 0.05). The presence of abnormalities in some species inhabiting different agroecosystems suggests that environmental stress factors might be responsible for their occurrence. While we detected pesticides (endosulfan, cypermethrin, and chlorpyrifos) and lower dissolved oxygen levels in ponds of the cultivated area, no data are currently available on how other factors, such as injuries from predators and parasite infections, vary by land use. Further research will be necessary to evaluate possible causes of abnormalities detected in the present study mainly in the context of factor interactions.

KEY WORDS: Agricultural disturbance · Pesticide · Brachydactyly · Ectrodactyly · Scoliosis · Developmental abnormality · Teratogen

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Cite this article as: Agostini MG, Kacoliris F, Demetrio P, Natale GS, Bonetto C, Ronco AE (2013) Abnormalities in amphibian populations inhabiting agroecosystems in northeastern Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Dis Aquat Org 104:163-171. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02592

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