Forms and prevalence of intersexuality and effects of environmental contaminants on sexuality in cricket frogs (Acris crepitans)

A. L. Reeder, G. L. Foley, D. K. Nichols, L. G. Hansen, B. Wikoff, S. Faeh, J. Eisold, M. B. Wheeler, R. Warner, J. E. Murphy, V. R. Beasley

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Cricket frogs (Acris crepitans) from several different sites in Illinois were collected to assess the effects of environmental contamination on the prevalence of intersex gonads. Of 341 frogs collected in 1993, 1994, and 1995, 2.7% were intersex individuals. There was no statistically significant relationship between the chemical compounds detected and cricket frog intersexuality. However, there was an association approaching significance (p = 0.07) between the detection of atrazine and intersex individuals. A comparison of reference sites with sites that had point polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDF) contamination revealed a significant relationship between sex-ratio reversal and contamination with PCBs and PCDFs. The sex ratio of juvenile frogs studied from three sites with PCB and PCDF point contamination favored males over females, which was the opposite of the sex ratio in control ponds (p = 0.0007). The statistically significant correlation between organochlorine contamination and sex-ratio reversal suggests PCBs and PCDFs can influence cricket frog sexual differentiation. The current study suggests that in cricket frogs, sex ratios and the prevalence of intersex gonads are altered by environmental contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-266
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1998


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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