Accumulation of mercury in the tissues of the common octopus Octopus vulgaris (L.) in two localities on the Portuguese coast

S. Seixas, P. Bustamante, Graham John Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Mercury concentrations were measured in tissues of 12 individuals of Octopus vulgaris, captured by the commercial fishery at two points along the Portuguese coast, Viana do Castelo and Cascais, in spring 2002. Concentrations were determined in six tissues (digestive gland, branchial hearts, gills, mantle, arms, and gonads). Correlations between mercury concentrations in different tissues were examined as were correlations between mercury levels and total length, mantle length, weight, gonadosomatic index, digestive gland index, and state of maturation. Differences between sexes and localities were analysed. The concentration of mercury in the digestive gland (Viana, 0.58 +/- 0.08, and Cascais, 3.43 +/- 2.57 mg/kg dry weight) was higher than in the other tissues, and values were generally similar to those recorded in previous studies on octopods. Arm muscle contained most of the mercury with 56% of the total body burden followed by the digestive gland with 31%, mantle with 11%, gills with 0.8%, gonad with 0.5%, and branchial heart with 0.2%. In all tissues, mercury concentrations were slightly higher in samples from Cascais than in Viana do Castelo, which is consistent with higher concentrations recorded in seawater at Cascais. Levels of mercury determined in octopus were within the range of values legally defined as safe for human consumption. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1-3
Early online date19 Oct 2004
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2005


  • toxic element
  • marine pollution
  • cephalopods
  • mercury
  • octopus
  • Northern Tyrrhenian Sea
  • dietary-intake
  • chemical form
  • life-cycle
  • selenium
  • seafood
  • cadmium
  • Spain
  • Gulf
  • fish


Dive into the research topics of 'Accumulation of mercury in the tissues of the common octopus Octopus vulgaris (L.) in two localities on the Portuguese coast'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this