Ecotoxicology and Genotoxicology: Non-traditional Terrestrial Models
Chapter 5: The Use of Spiders in the Assessment of Cellular Effects of Environmental Stressors
Published:12 Jun 2017
G. Wilczek, in Ecotoxicology and Genotoxicology: Non-traditional Terrestrial Models, ed. M. L. Larramendy and M. L. Larramendy, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2017, ch. 5, pp. 96-122.
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Owing to their polyphagy, low nutritional selectivity and high hunting activity, spiders are considered important regulators of insect population sizes in meadow, forest and agricultural ecosystems. In anthropogenically changed environments, including ones contaminated with heavy metals and subjected to intensive agrotechnical measures, the occurrence and hunting efficiency of these obligatory predators depend on their ability to tolerate excess amounts of xenobiotics introduced to organisms via ingestion or contact. From the assessment of the levels of enzymatic and non-enzymatic detoxification indicators and heat shock proteins as well as the intensity of cell death processes and genotoxic changes in cells of various organs, it can be concluded that spider sensitivity to environmental toxins is species- and sex-specific. Analysis of changes in selected cellular parameters characteristic for the response to stressing factors may allow identification of defense strategies triggered in spiders by different environmental stressors and prediction of spiders’ ability to survive in polluted sites and recolonise anthropogenically changed areas.