Recent reports concerning the lethal effects of solar ultraviolet-B (UV-B) (290–320 nm) radiation on amphibians suggest that this stressor has the potential to impact some amphibian populations. In this study embryos and larvae of three anuran species, Rana pipiens, Rana clamitans and Rana septentrionalis, were exposed to full-spectrum solar radiation and solar radiation filtered to attenuate UV-B radiation or UV-B and ultraviolet-A (UV-A) (290–380 nm) radiation to determine the effects of each wavelength range on embryo and larval survival. Ambient levels of solar radiation were found to be lethal to all three species under exposure conditions that eliminated shade and refuge. Lethality was ameliorated by filtration of UV-B radiation alone, demonstrating that ambient UV-B radiation is sufficient to cause mortality. Although several studies have qualitatively demonstrated the lethality of UV-B to early life stage amphibians this study demonstrates that the larval life stages of the three species tested are more sensitive than the embryonic stages. This suggests that previous reports that have not included the larval life stage may underestimate the risk posed to some anuran populations by increasing UV-B exposure. Furthermore, this study reports quantitative UV-B dosimetry data, collected in conjunction with the exposures, which can be used to begin the assessment of the impact of environmental changes which increase UV-B exposure of these anurans.
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Vol. 74 • No. 2