Author(s): Bastos WR, Drea JG, Bernardi JV, Manzatto AG, Mussy MH, Lacerda LD, Malm O
Sex plays an important role in the kinetics and dynamics of methylmercury in some animals. Although fish is the main source of mercury exposure to consumers, the role of sex in fish-Hg bioaccumulation is less known. We studied total Hg (THg) concentrations in 2538 samples (males=1052, females=1486) of fish from different trophic levels (herbivorous, planctivorous, detritivorous, omnivorous, carnivorous, piscivorous); for each species we made a post hoc estimation of the minimum number of samples required to detect variance-based differences between sexes. Only five of the 41 studied species showed significant difference between sexes; but, no consistent dominant pattern of THg concentrations favored either sex. When grouped by trophic levels, overall mean difference in THg concentrations between males and females were not statistically significant. Correlation analysis showed sex-dependent THg bio-accumulation as a function of condition factor was statistically significant and negative for all trophic levels (detritivorous, herviborous, omnivorous, planctivorous, carnivorous, and piscivorous).
Sex is not the main driver of Hg bioaccumulation in most Amazonian fish species; however, studies have to consider the minimum number of samples required to ascertain sex effects on THg bioaccumulation. Therefore, neither the surveillance of environmental pollution nor the current food advisories based on muscle THg need to change because of fish sex.Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development