John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Using Hexagenia in sediment bioassays: Methods, applicability and relative sensitivity

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The majority of sediment toxicity and aquatic bioaccumulation assessments are conducted using standardized species, such as Hyalella azteca, Chironomus dilutus, and Lumbriculus variegatus. The burrowing mayfly, Hexagenia sp., may serve as an ideal supplemental organism for both toxicity and bioaccumulation studies for several reasons. Hexagenia are recognized as sensitive species, have a long aquatic life stage (up to two years), and have large bodies, which aids in retrieval from sediments and for residue analysis. The current study outlines our established method for collecting and hatching eggs, raising nymphs, and using these animals for toxicity testing. Furthermore, the relative sensitivity of three size classes of Hexagenia to a representative contaminant (bifenthrin) was examined and compared to laboratory‐derived LC50s for the more traditionally used Hyalella and Chironomus. Finally, sublethal endpoints, including immobilization and suspended solids, were defined for this species. This provides guidance for the use of this species in toxicological bioassays. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2013 SETAC

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