Atrazine concentrations, gonadal gross morphology and histology in ranid frogs collected in Michigan agricultural areas
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The triazine herbicide atrazine has been suggested to be a potential disruptor of normal sexual development in male frogs. The goals of this study were to collect native ranid frogs from sites in agricultural and non-agricultural areas and determine whether hypothesised atrazine effects on the gonads could be observed at the gross morphological and histological levels. Juvenile and adult green frogs (Rana clamitans), bullfrogs (R. catesbeiana) and leopard frogs (R. pipiens) were collected in the summers of 2002 and 2003. Atrazine concentrations were below the limit of quantification at non-agricultural sites, and concentrations did not exceed 2 microg/L at most agricultural sites. One concentration greater than 200 microg atrazine/L was measured once at one site in 2002. Hermaphroditic individuals with both male and female gonad tissue in either one or both gonads, were found at a low incidence at both non-agricultural and agricultural sites, and in both adults and juveniles. Testicular oocytes (TO) were found in male frogs at most of the sites, with the greatest incidence occurring in juvenile leopard frogs. TO incidence was not significantly different between agricultural and non-agricultural sites with the exception of juveniles collected in 2003. Atrazine concentrations were not significantly correlated with the incidence of hermaphroditism, but maximum atrazine concentrations were correlated with TO incidence in juvenile frogs in 2003. However, given the lack of a consistent relationship between atrazine concentrations and TO incidence, it is more likely the TOs observed in this study result from natural processes in development rather than atrazine exposure.
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