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Methylmercury: Second-Generation Reproductive and Behavioral Effects on Mallard Ducks

Gary H. Heinz
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 40, No. 4 (Oct., 1976), pp. 710-715
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3800567
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3800567
Page Count: 6
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Methylmercury: Second-Generation Reproductive and Behavioral Effects on Mallard Ducks
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Abstract

Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) whose parents were fed a diet containing 0.5 ppm mercury (equal to about 0.1 ppm mercury in a natural diet) also were fed a diet containing 0.5 ppm mercury beginning at 9 days of age and continuing through their reproductive season. Mercury in the eggs of treated hens averaged 0.86 ppm. Hens fed 0.5 ppm mercury made less efficient use of feed and laid a greater percentage of eggs outside nestboxes compared with controls. Hens fed mercury also produced fewer 1-week-old ducklings than did controls. There were no significant differences between controls and ducklings from parents fed 0.5 ppm mercury in approach responses to tape-recorded maternal calls, in avoidance of a frightening stimulus, or in open-field behavior. Ducklings from parents fed 0.5 ppm mercury did not grow as fast as did control ducklings.

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