Concentrations of 17 elements in the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), in different tissues of perch (Perca fluviatilis), and in perch intestinal parasites (Acanthocephalus lucii) from the subalpin lake Mondsee (Austria).
Concentrations of the elements Al, Ag, Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ga, Mg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, Tl, and Zn were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in the acanthocephalan Acanthocephalus lucii (Müller); in its host, Perca fluviatilis (L.), and in the soft tissue of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas). All animals were collected from the same sampling site in a subalpine lake, Mondsee, in Austria. Most of the elements were found at significantly higher concentrations in the acanthocephalan than in different tissues (muscle, liver, and intestinal wall) of its perch host. Only Co was concentrated in the liver of perch to a level that was significantly higher than that found in the parasite. Most of the analyzed elements were also present at significantly higher concentrations in A. lucii than in D. polymorpha. Barium and Cr were the only elements recorded at higher concentrations in the mussel compared with the acanthocephalan. Thus, when comparing the accumulation of elements, the acanthocephalans appear to be even more suitable than the zebra mussels in terms of their use in the detection of metal contamination within aquatic biotopes. Spearman correlation analysis revealed that the concentrations of several elements within the parasites decreased with an increasing infrapopulation. Furthermore, the levels of some elements in the perch liver were negatively correlated with the weight of A. lucii in the intestine. Thus, it emerged that not only is there competition for elements between acanthocephalans inside the gut but there is also competition for these elements between the host and the parasites. The elevated element concentrations demonstrated here in the parasitic worm A. lucii provide support for further investigations of these common helminths and of their accumulation properties.
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