Mercury residues in wood ducks and wood duck foods in eastern Tennessee

  • Lindsay R
  • Dimmick R
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Abstract

Liver, breast muscle and body fat from 50 juvenile and five adult wood ducks (Aix sponsa) collected on the Holston River, Tennessee were analyzed for total mercury content. Black fly larvae (Simulium vittatum) sago pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus), tapegrass (Vallisneria americanus), water stargrass (Heteranthera dubia), Elodea canadensis, and river bottom sediments were also analyzed to elucidate the distribution of mercury in the wood duck's environment. Liver tissues of juveniles contained the highest mean concentration of mercury (0.42 ppm). Mercury in breast muscle and body fat of juveniles averaged 0.15 and 0.10 ppm, respectively. Residues in corresponding tissues of adults were lower. Of environmental components tested, sediments had the highest mean concentration (0.76 ppm). Black fly larvae and aquatic plants had mean levels below 0.10 ppm.

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Authors

  • R C Lindsay

  • R W Dimmick

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