Of increasing economic importance are the rare earth elements (REEs). Pollution from mining and processing activity is expected to rise with industrial demand. Plants are known to accumulate REEs, although levels vary with species and soil content. However, the effect on wildlife of ingesting REE contaminated vegetation is not well understood. Here we examined the effect of consuming vegetation with elevated levels of cerium on the generalist grasshopper, Melanoplus sanguinipes (Fabricius).Adults excreted a substantial portion of ingested contamination. However, after only four-days of feeding, accumulation in the body occurred at all doses and paralysis of appendages resulted at the highest doses.Short-term toxicity studies may underestimate the impact of ingesting REE contamination. Metals tend to be low in toxicity; however, their persistence in the environment may be better represented by exposure over longer portions of the life cycle.
Allison, J. E., Boutin, C., Carpenter, D., Ellis, D. M., & Parsons, J. L. (2015). Cerium chloride heptahydrate (CeCl3·7H2O) induces muscle paralysis in the generalist herbivore, Melanoplus sanguinipes (Fabricius) (Orthoptera: Acrididae), fed contaminated plant tissues. Chemosphere, 120, 674–679. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.09.058