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Keywords:

  • Site-specific criteria;
  • Resident species procedure;
  • Fish size;
  • Soft water;
  • Metal mixture toxicity

Abstract

The authors conducted 150 tests of the acute toxicity of resident fish and invertebrates to Cd, Pb, and Zn, separately and in mixtures, in waters from the South Fork Coeur d'Alene River watershed, Idaho, USA. Field-collected shorthead sculpin (Cottus confusus), westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi), two mayflies (Baetis tricaudatus and Rhithrogena sp.), a stonefly (Sweltsa sp.), a caddisfly (Arctopsyche sp.), a snail (Gyraulus sp.), and hatchery rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), were tested with all three metals. With Pb, the mayflies (Drunella sp., Epeorus sp., and Leptophlebiidae), a Simuliidae black fly, a Chironomidae midge, a Tipula sp. crane fly, a Dytiscidae beetle, and another snail (Physa sp.), were also tested. Adult westslope cutthroat trout were captured to establish a broodstock to provide fry of known ages for testing. With Cd, the range of 96-h median effect concentrations (EC50s) was 0.4 to >5,329 µg/L, and the relative resistances of taxa were westslope cutthroat trout ≈ rainbow trout ≈ sculpin << other taxa; with Pb, EC50s ranged from 47 to 3,323 µg/L, with westslope cutthroat trout < rainbow trout < other taxa; and with Zn, EC50s ranged from 21 to 3,704 µg/L, with rainbow trout < westslope cutthroat trout ≈ sculpin << other taxa. With swim-up trout fry, a pattern of decreasing resistance with increasing fish size was observed. In metal mixtures, the toxicities of the three metals were less than additive on a concentration-addition basis. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2012;31:1334–1348. © 2012 SETAC