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Keywords:

  • Pesticide;
  • Amphibian;
  • Sierra Nevada Mountains;
  • Organophosphate;
  • Rana muscosa

Abstract

In 1997, pesticide concentrations were measured in mountain yellow-legged frogs (Rana muscosa) from two areas in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, USA. One area (Sixty Lakes Basin, Kings Canyon National Park) had large, apparently healthy populations of frogs. A second area (Tablelands, Sequoia National Park) once had large populations, but the species had been extirpated from this area by the early 1980s. The Tablelands is exposed directly to prevailing winds from agricultural regions to the west. When an experimental reintroduction of R. muscosa in 1994 to 1995 was deemed unsuccessful in 1997, the last 20 (reintroduced) frogs that could be found were collected from the Tablelands, and pesticide concentrations in both frog tissue and the water were measured at both the Tablelands and at reference sites at Sixty Lakes. In frog tissues, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) concentration was one to two orders of magnitude higher than the other organochlorines (46 ± 20 ng/g wet wt at Tablelands and 17 ± 8 Sixty Lakes). Both γ-chlordane and trans-nonachlor were found in significantly greater concentrations in Tablelands frog tissues compared with Sixty Lakes. Organophosphate insecticides, chlorpyrifos, and diazinon were observed primarily in surface water with higher concentrations at the Tablelands sites. No contaminants were significantly higher in our Sixty Lakes samples.