Arsenic, lead and cadmium concentrations in caudal crests of the yacare caiman (Caiman yacare) from Brazilian Pantanal Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Wetlands are environments of extreme importance due to their high biodiversity and invaluable ecosystem services. Nevertheless, wetlands worldwide are under the increasing threat of the effects of contaminants, which put at risk the biota and the ecosystems. Herein the concentrations of non-essential and toxic elements arsenic (As), lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) in caudal crests of the yacare caiman (Caiman yacare) from the Brazilian Pantanal, one of the largest wetlands in the world, were investigated aiming to compare concentrations in individuals from a large pristine area (Southern Pantanal) to animals from an area close to potential sources of anthropogenic emissions (Northern Pantanal). Levels above the limit of detection were found for all the elements in the majority of the analysed samples. The highest mean concentration was detected for As in samples from both sites, followed by Pb and Cd in samples from Southern Pantanal, and Cd and Pb in samples from Northern Pantanal. Significant negative correlations were found between As and Cd concentrations and the size of the individuals from the Southern Pantanal. Surprisingly, concentrations of all three elements were higher in pristine Southern Pantanal, but with significant differences only for Cd. This result suggests that natural sources and processes may be acting for the mobilisation and availability of As, Pb and Cd for Southern Pantanal biota, which reflected in the contamination of C. yacare. Data from the literature showed higher levels of As, Pb and Cd in abiotic compartments in Southern Pantanal and adjacent plateaus in comparison to Northern Pantanal, corroborating the higher concentrations detected in biotic samples from the south. Thus, natural sources seem to play a relevant role in the contamination of biota by As, Pb and Cd in Southern Pantanal, characterising an intriguing pattern that could be tested for other species.


  • Quintela, Fernando Marques
  • Pino, Saulo Rodrigues
  • Silva, Felipe Caseiro
  • Loebmann, Daniel
  • Costa, PatrĂ­cia Gomes
  • Bianchini, Adalto
  • Martins, Samantha Eslava

publication date

  • March 2020