Patterns in relative differences in contaminant concentrations between the sexes across many species of fish may reveal clues for important behavioral and physiological differences between the sexes, and may also be useful in developing fish consumption advisories and efficient designs for programs meant to monitor contaminant levels in fish. We determined skin-off fillet and whole-fish total mercury (Hg) concentrations of 28 adult female and 26 adult male bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus
) from Squaw Lake, Oakland County, Michigan (MI), USA. Bioenergetics modeling was used to quantify the effect of growth dilution on the difference in Hg concentrations between the sexes. On average, skin-off fillet and whole-fish Hg concentrations were 25.4% higher and 26.6% higher, respectively, in females compared with males. Thus, the relative difference in Hg concentrations between the sexes for skin-off fillets was nearly identical to that for whole fish. However, mean skin-off fillet Hg concentration (363 ng/g) was 2.3 times greater than mean whole-fish Hg concentration (155 ng/g). Males grew substantially faster than females, and bioenergetics modeling results indicated that the growth dilution effect could account for females having 14.4% higher Hg concentrations than males. Our findings should be useful in revising fish consumption advisories.
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