Interactions between cyanobacteria and gastropods II. Impact of toxic Planktothrix agardhii on the life-history traits of Lymnaea stagnalis.Aquat Toxicol. 2007 Mar 30; 81(4):389-96.AT
Hepatotoxins are frequently produced by many cyanobacterial species. Microcystins (MCs) are the most frequent and widely studied hepatotoxins, with potentially hazardous repercussions on aquatic organisms. As a ubiquitous herbivore living in eutrophic freshwaters, the snail Lymnaea stagnalis (Gastropoda: Pulmonata) is particularly exposed to cyanobacteria. The toxic filamentous Planktothrix agardhii is common in temperate lakes and is therefore, a potential food resource for gastropods. In the first part of this study, we demonstrated the ingestion of toxic P. agardhii by L. stagnalis during a 5 weeks exposure, with concomitant accumulation of, on average, 60% of total MCs ingested. After 3 weeks of non-toxic food (lettuce), approximately 90% of MCs were eliminated from tissues. Here, we investigate the impact of toxic P. agardhii consumption on the life-history traits (survival, growth and fecundity), locomotion and the structure of digestive and genital glands of juvenile and adult L. stagnalis. We observed a decrease of growth regardless of age, although this was more marked in juveniles, and a reduction of fecundity in adults. Survival and locomotion were not affected. Reduction of growth and fecundity continued to be observed even after feeding of non-toxic food for 3 weeks. The structure of the digestive gland was altered during the intoxication period but not irreversibly as cells tended to recover a normal status after the 3-week detoxification period. No histopathological changes occurred in the genital gland and oocytes, and spermatozoids were present in the gonadic acini. The density of cyanobacterial suspensions used in this study was comparable to those regularly observed in lakes, particularly in eutrophic waters. These results are discussed in terms of the negative impact of toxic cyanobacteria on natural communities of freshwater gastropods, and potential cascading effects on the equilibrium and functioning of the ecosystem.