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Sex difference in PCB concentrations of a catostomid fish

October 14, 2017

Unraveling the complexities associated with the relative differences in contaminant concentrations between the sexes of mature fish may provide insights into important behavioral and physiological differences between the sexes of not just fish but higher vertebrates as well. Whole-fish polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations were determined in 25 mature female white suckers (Catostomus commersoni) and 26 mature male white suckers caught during their spawning run in the Kewaunee River, a tributary to Lake Michigan. Total length and weight were measured for each fish, and age of each fish was estimated from thin-sectioned otoliths. PCB concentration significantly increased with increasing total length, weight, and age. Consequently, three analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) models were fitted to the data to assess the effect of sex on white sucker PCB concentration. Based on model averaging, estimates of mean PCB concentrations in female and male white suckers were 185 and 219 ng/g, respectively. Thus, males were 18% greater in PCB concentration than females. We conclude that this difference between the sexes was most likely mainly driven by a higher rate of energy expenditure in males compared with females. Greater energy expenditure, owing to greater swimming activity and a higher resting metabolic rate, resulted in a higher rate of food consumption, which in turn led to a greater rate of PCB accumulation. Higher whole-fish PCB concentration in males compared with females has now been shown in nine different fish species. Our study represented the first documentation of this type of sex difference in a catostomid fish.

Publication Year 2017
Title Sex difference in PCB concentrations of a catostomid fish
DOI 10.4172/2161-0525.1000515
Authors Charles P. Madenjian, Andrew L. Stevens, Martin A. Stapanian, Stuart A. Batterman, Sergei M. Chernyak, Jordan E. Menczer, Peter B. McIntyre
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology
Index ID 70193775
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center