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    Variation in Response to Methylmercury by Killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) Embryos

    Published: Jan 1982

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    Some female killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) from Montauk, N.Y., produce eggs that are much more resistant to the craniofacial, cardiovascular, and skeletal effects of 0.05 ppm methylmercury than eggs of other females. The following relationships were observed in studying 128 batches of eggs from 85 females fertilized by 35 males.

    Batches of eggs with a high percentage of noncleaving eggs (NCEs) tended to be most susceptible. Tolerance was also associated with the relation of the date to the lunar spawning cycle and with the number of dorsal fin rays in the females; fish that had ten fin rays produced no unaffected batches, whereas those with eleven or twelve rays produced eggs ranging from very tolerant (unaffected) to very susceptible. A weaker correlation with female weight was seen. Because of the importance of the percentage of NCEs in determining the tolerance of a batch of eggs, the data were reanalyzed after removing all those batches with high rates of (>35 percent) NCEs. This revealed a strong association of tolerance with the stickiness of the eggs in that batches which were very sticky tended to be more resistant. Correlations were also seen with female length and fecundity. No correlations were seen with any measured traits of the males.


    mercury, methylmercury, killifish, embryos, teratology, developmental anomaly, cyclopia, cardiovascular system, skeletal system, variability, toxicology, hazard assessment, aquatic toxicology

    Author Information:

    Weis, J
    Professor of zoology and graduate student, Rutgers University, Newark, N.J.

    Weis, P
    Professor of anatomy, College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, N.J.

    Heber, M
    Professor of zoology and graduate student, Rutgers University, Newark, N.J.

    Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Solomons, Md

    Committee/Subcommittee: E35.14

    DOI: 10.1520/STP36713S

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