Original Articles

The toxicity of zinc to a selected macroinvertebrate, Adenophlebia auriculata (Ephemeroptera, Leptophlebiidae): method development

Published in: African Journal of Aquatic Science
Volume 27, issue 1, 2002 , pages: 31–38
DOI: 10.2989/16085914.2002.9626572
Author(s): V EverittCentre for Aquatic Toxicology, South Africa, P-A SchermanCentre for Aquatic Toxicology, South Africa, MH VilletDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, South Africa


The South African water quality guidelines for the protection of the aquatic environment are constantly being updated. The Centre for Aquatic Toxicology of the Institute for Water Research, Rhodes University, uses artificial streams and toxicological methods to contribute to the development and refinement of these guidelines. This study involved the use of 96-hour acute toxicity tests, using zinc sulphate as the toxicant, to determine the suitability of Adenophlebia auriculata as a potential indicator species of zinc pollution. As it is known that experimental environments (e.g. still versus flowing water systems) can influence the tolerance of a test species, the experimental system most suited to this species' abiotic requirements was determined. Static and recirculating systems were compared, with LC50 values calculated for the static systems being 91% lower than those calculated for the recirculating systems. The increased sensitivity to the toxicant under static conditions may be due to the animals being additionally stressed by the less favourable static environment. This suggests that recirculating systems are more suited for toxicity tests using this mayfly. Adenophlebia auriculata appears to be tolerant to zinc when compared to zinc LC50 values for other test species in the literature, and may therefore not be a suitable indicator of zinc pollution in an aquatic environment.

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