Evaluating Insects as Bioindicators of Heavy Metal Contamination and Accumulation near Industrial Area of Gujrat, Pakistan

Biomed Res Int. 2015:2015:942751. doi: 10.1155/2015/942751. Epub 2015 Jun 18.


To study the accumulation and contamination of heavy metals (i.e., Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, and Zn) in soil, air, and water, few insect species were assayed as ecological indicators. Study area comes under industrial zone of district Gujrat of Punjab, Pakistan. Insects used as bioindicators included a libellulid dragonfly (Crocothemis servilia), an acridid grasshopper (Oxya hyla hyla), and a nymphalid butterfly (Danaus chrysippus) near industrial zone of Gujrat. Accumulation of Cd was highest in insect species followed by Cu, Cr, Zn, and Ni at p < 0.05. Hierarchical cluster analysis (HACA) was carried out to study metal accumulation level in all insects. Correlation and regression analysis confirmed HACA observations and declared concentration of heavy metals above permissible limits. Metal concentrations in insects were significantly higher near industries and nallahs in Gujrat and relatively higher concentrations of metals were found in Orthoptera than Odonata and Lepidoptera. The total metal concentrations in insects were pointed significantly higher at sites S3 (Mid of HalsiNala), S9 (End of HalsiNala), and S1 (Start of HalsiNala), whereas lowest value was detected at site S6 (Kalra Khasa) located far from industrial area. HACA indicates that these insect groups are potential indicators of metal contamination and can be used in biomonitoring.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Industry
  • Insecta / drug effects*
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Metals, Heavy / metabolism
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity*
  • Pakistan
  • Soil / chemistry


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Soil