Accumulation and effects of octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro- 1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) exposure in the green anole (Anolis carolinensis)

S. T. McMurry, L. E. Jones, P. N. Smith, G. P. Cobb, T. A. Anderson, M. B. Lovern, S. Cox, X. Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Environmental contamination by energetic compounds is an increasing international concern, although little is known of their accumulation in and affect on wildlife. Reptiles are often good models for contaminants studies due to natural history traits that increase their potential for exposure. We report a study to assess accumulation and effects of octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro- 1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) High Melting Explosive) in green anoles (Anolis carolinensis). Acute oral toxicity (LD50) was estimated to exceed 2000 mg/kg body weight in adult male and female anoles using a standard up-and-down method. Accumulation of HMX was assessed in adult females via dietary exposure and into eggs by two routes (directly from the soil and via maternal transfer). HMX readily accumulated into adult females in a dose-dependent manner and into eggs following both exposure pathways. However, total HMX in soil-exposed eggs was up to 40-times greater than those exposed via maternal transfer. Although there was a suggestion of an HMX-induced reduction in body weight in adult females, overall there were no effects observed over the 12 week exposure period. The only significant effect on eggs was a 50% reduction in hatching success for eggs exposed to 2000 mg/kg HMX in the soil during incubation. Growth and survival of hatchlings was not affected by HMX exposure. Our results demonstrate that HMX accumulates through the food chain and into eggs from the soil, but likely poses minimal threat to lizards except to hatching success in eggs incubated in soils with HMX levels near maximum nvironmental concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-314
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Explosives
  • HMX
  • Reproduction
  • Reptiles
  • Toxicology


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