Imposex in Stramonita haemastoma from coastal sites of Cartagena, Colombia

Braz J Biol. 2018 Aug;78(3):548-555. doi: 10.1590/1519-6984.173301. Epub 2017 Oct 30.


Imposex is the development of male sexual characteristics caused by the toxic effects of some chemicals that acts as an endocrinal disruptor. Antifouling paints contain these chemicals. Cartagena lacks studies to indicate the extent of imposex in its coastal waters. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of imposex in the gastropod Stramonita haemastoma in Cartagena, Colombia. Specimens were collected during 2013 from locations of high and low influence of port activity. Morphometric measurements and the frequency of the occurrence of imposex were registered. The comparison among morphometric variables showed statistically significant differences between the two sites studied. Furthermore, the females of the S. haemastoma species presented an imposex frequency of 93.1% in Birds' Island, Cartagena Bay, compared to 31.8% in La Bocana. The relative penis size index or RPLI (10.145 and 3.231) and vas deferens sequence index or VDSI (2.83 and 1.16), showed possible contamination by organotin compounds in both places.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colombia
  • Disorders of Sex Development / chemically induced*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Female
  • Gastropoda / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Organotin Compounds / toxicity*
  • Paint / toxicity*
  • Vas Deferens / drug effects
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Organotin Compounds
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical