Behavioural, physiological and biochemical markers in damselfly larvae (**Ischnura elegans**) to assess effects of accumulated metal mixtures
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
The science of the total environment. - Amsterdam
, p. 208-215
University of Antwerp
Currently it is not known at which organismal level effects of metal mixtures in nature can best be detected, which is relevant to develop accurate monitoring schemes and quality standards. The present study investigated relationships between accumulated metals with different levels of biological organisation in the aquatic larval stage of the damselfly Ischnura elegans. Larvae were collected in seven Flemish ponds differing in metal load. In each field-collected larva we quantified concentrations of accumulated metals and a set of biochemical markers (acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST)), physiological endpoints (energy storage), and behavioural responses (locomotory activity and the feeding rate). Accumulated metal levels and the measured endpoints significantly differed among ponds, however, a large variation in metal load index was observed within individuals of the same population. Only GST and energy availability could be partly predicted by the observed variation in metal load index on individual damselfly level. However, no single endpoint could be used to detect the observed variation in metal load index among populations. In conclusion, the sublethal endpoints cannot be used as reliable biomarkers to monitor the toxicity of accumulated metal mixtures in natural populations of I. elegans.