Ecotoxicology and environmental safety vol:47 issue:3 pages:231-238
An in situ bioassay using mouthpart deformities in Chironomus riparius larvae was developed to monitor sediment toxicity, Second-instar larvae, along with a standardized amount of food and sediment taken from the study locations, were enclosed in cages that were placed on the sediment surface of rivers, Mouthpart deformities were screened after larval molting to the fourth instar (exposure time: 7-10 days). Mouthpart deformities of caged and field larvae (when present) were related to the estimated sediment toxicity, By summing toxicant concentrations and normalizing them to the organic matter and clay contents, a significant relationship between toxicity levels and mouthpart deformities in the mentum was revealed. Results suggest that the pattern of observed deformities was indicative of site toxicity rather than a characteristic of the laboratory larval population used. The main advantage of the proposed in situ bioassay is the possibility to assess the incidence of deformities at sites where C, riparius does not occur naturally. (C). 2000 Academic Press.