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Toxicity of Mercury Vapour to Insects


Christensen, Krogh and Nielsen1 have referred to the highly toxic effects of mercury vapour in a closed experimental chamber, and recorded the effects on mammals of this vapour arising from droplets of mercury spilled accidentally on the chamber floor. Previously Krogh2 found a very high mortality among insect embryos on which he was carrying out respiration experiments. He attributed this to the toxic action of mercury vapour from minute drops of mercury which were always left in the tap-borings of his air sampling tubes. He states that it was known from unpublished observations of the Copenhagen physiological laboratories that mercury vapour was highly toxic to insect eggs. Burkholder3, who cited Krogh's paper, found that eggs of the grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis Thomas, died in a glass respirometer which had been calibrated with mercury although the mercury had been removed prior to the experiment.

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GOUGH, H. Toxicity of Mercury Vapour to Insects. Nature 141, 922–923 (1938).

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