Adults of the sandhopper Talitrus saltator were fed with dry fish food mixed with polyethylene microspheres (diameter 10-45 mu m). Observations of homogenized guts revealed the presence of microspheres independently of their dimensions. The gut resident time (GRT) was recorded and most of the microspheres are expelled in 24 h. Microspheres are totally expelled in one week. Preliminary investigations did not show any consequence of microsphere ingestion on the survival capacity in the laboratory. FT-IR analyses carried out on faeces of freshly collected individuals revealed the presence of polyethylene and polypropylene. This confirms that microplastic debris could be swallowed by T. saltator in natural conditions.
Ugolini, A. and al., Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 129, Pages 19-22, September 2013