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A decadal study of biometric and imposex indices in two gastropods

  • J. M. Ruiz (a1), B. Carro (a1), N. Albaina (a1), L. Couceiro (a1), M. Quintela (a1) and R. Barreiro (a1)...


We have monitored tributyltin (TBT) pollution in Galicia (NW Spain) for more than a decade by means of assessing gastropod imposex in populations of Nucella lapillus (N ≥ 34) and Tritia reticulata (N ≥ 18) at regular intervals. Several thousand specimens were processed to obtain their shell height (SH), penis length (PL) and vas deferens sequence (VDS); imposex indices (including the VDS index, VDSI) were subsequently calculated. The regional mean SH of both females and males has not changed significantly in either species throughout the study. This also applies to the mean male PL in N. lapillus, but male T. reticulata penises surprisingly enlarged. On the contrary, the regional mean female PL (MFPL) and all imposex indices significantly decreased in both snails. Results confirm previous conclusions based on the chemical analyses of tissues and partial imposex observations. In addition, the close correlations between MFPL and VDSI show some potential applications to TBT biomonitoring.


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Author for correspondence: J. M. Ruiz, E-mail:


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