Mercury levels in eggs, embryos, and neonates of trachemys callirostris (testudines, emydidae).
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We quantified total mercury concentrations in eggshells, egg yolks, and embryos from 16 nests of the Colombian Slider (Trachemys callirostris). Nests were collected in different stages of development, but estimated time of incubation in natural substrates was not correlated with mercury levels in the eggs, suggesting that mercury was not absorbed from the substrate, but more likely passed on to the embryos during folliculogenesis by the reproductive females who had bioaccumulated the mercury from environmental sources. Mean mercury concentrations were higher in embryos than in eggshells or egg yolks, indicating that embryos also bioaccumulate mercury present in other egg tissues. Intra-clutch variation in egg yolk mercury concentrations was relatively high. Egg yolk mercury concentrations were not associated with any of the fitness proxies we quantified for the nests (hatching success rates, initial neonate sizes and first-month juvenile growth rates). After five months of captive rearing in a mercury-free laboratory environment, most juveniles had eliminated the mercury from their tissues.
- Acta Biológica Colombiana