Mechanisms of zinc toxicity in the galaxiid fish, Galaxias maculatus

Nicole K. McRae, Sally Gaw, Chris N. Glover

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Zinc (Zn) is an essential metal, which is ubiquitous in aquatic environments occurring both naturally, and through anthropogenic inputs. This study investigated impacts of sub-lethal Zn exposure in the galaxiid fish Galaxias maculatus. Known as inanga, this amphidromous fish is widespread throughout the Southern hemisphere, but to date almost nothing is known regarding its sensitivity to elevated environmental metals. Fish were exposed to environmentally-relevant concentrations of Zn (control, 8, 270 and 1000 μg L- 1) over 96 h. End-points measured included those relating to ionoregulatory disturbance (whole body calcium and sodium influx), oxygen consumption (respirometry), oxidative stress (catalase activity and lipid peroxidation) and whole body accumulation of Zn. Zn exposure caused increases in catalase activity and lipid peroxidation, but only at the highest exposure level tested. Zn also significantly inhibited calcium influx, but stimulated sodium influx, at 1000 μg L- 1. The sub-lethal changes induced by Zn exposure in inanga appear to be conserved relative to other, better-studied species. These data are the first to explore the sensitivity of juvenile galaxiid fish to Zn, information that will be critical to ensuring adequate environmental protection of this important species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-190
Number of pages7
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Toxicology and Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan. 2016


  • Calcium
  • Galaxiid
  • Ion regulation
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Oxidative stress toxicity
  • Sodium
  • Zinc


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