Predatory aquatic beetles, suitable trace elements bioindicators

Burghelea, Carmen I., Zaharescu, Dragos G., Hooda, Peter S. and Palanca-Soler, Antonio (2011) Predatory aquatic beetles, suitable trace elements bioindicators. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 13(5), pp. 1308-1315. ISSN (print) 1464-0325


Predatory aquatic beetles are common colonizers of natural and managed aquatic environments. While as important components of the aquatic food webs they are prone to accumulate trace elements, they have been largely neglected from metal uptake studies. We aim to test the suitability of three dytiscid species, i.e.Hydroglyphus pusillus, Laccophilus minutus and Rhantus suturalis, as trace elements (Al, As, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Se and Zn) bioindicators. The work was carried out in a case area representing rice paddies and control sites (reservoirs) from an arid region known for its land degradation (Monegros, NE Spain). Categorical principal component analysis (CATPCA) was tested as a nonlinear approach to identify significant relationships between metals, species and habitat conditions so as to examine the ability of these species to reflect differences in metal uptake. Except Se and As, the average concentrations of all other elements in the beetles were higher in the rice fields than in the control habitats. The CATPCA determined that H. pusillus had high capacity to accumulate Fe, Ni and Mn regardless of the habitat type, and hence may not be capable of distinguishing habitat conditions with regards to these metals. On the other hand, L. minutus was found less sensitive for Se in non-managed habitats (i.e. reservoirs), while R. suturalis was good in accumulating Al, Mo and Pb in rice fields. The latter seems to be a promising bioindicator of metal enrichment in rice fields. We conclude that predatory aquatic beetles are good candidates for trace elements bioindication in impacted and non-impacted environments and can be used in environmental monitoring studies. CATPCA proved to be a reliable approach to unveil trends in metal accumulation in aquatic invertebrates according to their habitat status.

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