As part of an investigation into the generation of muscle heat in the tuna, the histochemistry and ultrastructure of the myotomal muscles were studied. Both red and white fibres are differentiated into two forms. The two forms of red muscle are very similar except for differential electron absorbance and different kinds of glycogen granules stored. In both forms, capillarity, mitochondrial numbers, and intracellular lipid droplets are abundant, implying the potential for a vigorous aerobic metabolism. During bursts of swimming, glycogen granules and intracellular lipid droplets are both largely depleted. The two types of white fibre differ in electron absorbance, pinocyotic activity, glycogen abundance, and insertion pattern, all of which are more pronounced in the ‘dense’ fibre form. Several features of tuna white muscle are unique or unusually developed. Thus, tuna muscle contains more glycogen than does red muscle. Glycogen granules may be randomly dispersed in myofibrillar or peripheral regions or may be sequestered in membrane-bound structures termed glycogen bodies. During short bursts of swimming, glycogen granules from all storage sites are mobilized. The white muscle has an ample capillary supply, small, but significant, amounts of intracellular lipid, and unusual numbers of mitochondria.

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