Variation of total mercury concentrations in pig frogs (Rana grylio) across the Florida Everglades, USA

Sci Total Environ. 2005 Jun 1;345(1-3):51-9. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.10.015. Epub 2004 Dec 23.


The Pig Frog (Rana grylio) is an aquatic frog that is an abundant component of the Everglades ecosystem. South Floridians recreationally and commercially hunt pig frogs in marshes throughout Water Conservation Areas (WCA) and Big Cypress National Preserve (BCNP) in South Florida. Most of these areas are under fish consumption advisories because of high levels of methylmercury present in game fish tissues. It is important to understand how mercury is distributed throughout Pig Frog populations because their consumption from certain areas may present a risk to human health. We sampled 88 pig frogs along a north-south transect through the Florida Everglades. There were substantial differences in total mercury (THg) concentrations from leg muscle tissue among sites. Total mercury in frog leg tissue was highest from areas protected from harvest in Everglades National Park (ENP), with a maximum concentration of 2051 ng/g wet mass. The THg levels in R. grylio leg tissue from most harvested areas are below Federal advisory limits. However, many pig frogs collected near Frog City, and one from WCA 3B and 3AN, harvested sites, had THg levels above the USEPA 0.3 mg/kg Fish Tissue Residue Criterion. Spatial patterns in the mercury found among pig frogs were similar to those of other wildlife species from the Everglades. We found frogs to have high THg levels in areas where alligators and mosquito fish also have high THg. THg in ENP frogs had an exponential relationship to SVL, we found no other relationship in frogs from other sites. Our data suggests that pig frogs should not be harvested or consumed from sites that exceed federal limits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Male
  • Mercury / analysis*
  • Mercury / pharmacokinetics
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Ranidae / metabolism*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / pharmacokinetics


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Mercury