Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 10630–10635 | Cite as

Exposure to the antifouling chemical medetomidine slows development, reduces body mass, and delays metamorphosis in wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles

  • Janine M. Barr
  • Julia R. Palmucci
  • Olivia J. Lambert
  • Peter P. Fong
Research Article


Antifouling chemicals have a long history of causing toxicity to aquatic organisms. We measured growth and developmental timing in wood frog tadpoles exposed to the antifouling chemical medetomidine (10 nM–10 μM) starting at two different developmental stages in static renewal experiments. For tadpoles hatched from egg masses and exposed for 3 weeks to 100 nM and 1 μM, head width/total body length ratio was significantly shorter compared to control. For field-collected tadpoles at Gosner stage 24–25 and exposed for 2 weeks, 1 and 10 μM medetomidine significantly slowed development as measured by Gosner stage. Medetomidine (1 and 10 μM) significantly increased the time to metamorphosis by over 16 days on average, and at 100 nM and 1 μM, it significantly decreased mass at metamorphosis. We discuss the possible effects of antifouling chemicals containing medetomidine on globally threatened groups such as amphibians.


Ecotoxicology Amphibians Medetomidine Tadpole Metamorphosis Aquatic 



We thank K. Hiraizumi for statistical advice and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.

Funding information

This work was supported in part by a grant to Gettysburg College from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program.

Compliance with ethical standards

The collection and use of all animals was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) of Gettysburg College.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janine M. Barr
    • 1
  • Julia R. Palmucci
    • 1
  • Olivia J. Lambert
    • 1
  • Peter P. Fong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Gettysburg CollegeGettysburgUSA

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