A novel invertebrate embryo test with the apple snail, Marisa cornuarietis, comprising a test protocol for the following developmental endpoints is described: formation of eyes and tentacles, heart rate, hatching, weight after hatching. To evaluate effects on embryonic development, the snails were treated in a first step with 250 or 500 μg/l cadmium. Sublethal effects in terms of a significant delay in hatching could be found in the 250 μg/l treated animals, whereas 500 μg/l Cd were lethal for the snail embryos. To test endocrine disrupting chemicals with this protocol, experiments with bisphenol A (50 μg/l, 100 μg/l) and 17α-ethinylestradiol (10 μg/l) were performed. In both treatments an increase of weight after hatching was observed as well as a significant decline in the heart rate of the embryos. As shown here, the sensitivity of M. cornuarietis embryos test is equal or even higher than other test species like zebrafish embryos and, therefore, this test can be regarded as an alternative or supplement for ecotoxicological studies. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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