We analyzed the ultrastructural features of the claw closer muscles in two estuarine crabs, Cyrtograpsus angulatus and Neohelice granulata, by transmission electron microscopy. Adult male crabs at intermolt stage were collected in the Mar Chiquita Coastal Lagoon (Buenos Aires, Argentina). The muscle fibers of both species showed evident striations, peripheral and intermyofibrillar nuclei, clefts in continuity with T and Z tubules, sarcoplasmic reticulum and T tubules forming dyads and triads usually located between the A and I bands, and mitochondria located mainly beneath the sarcolemma. Glycogen was observed as diffuse, small particles among myofilaments. The claw closer muscle of C. angulatus exhibited two fiber types: one with relatively fast-contracting fibers (shorter sarcomeres, myofilaments with an ordered arrangement, lineal Z discs, a well-developed sarcotubular system) and fatigue-resistant (numerous large mitochondria); and the other type, with slower-contracting fibers (longer sarcomeres, less orderly arranged myofilaments, wavy Z discs, a less developed sarcotubular system) and less resistant to fatigue (lower mitochondrial density). N. granulata showed only the slow, less resistant to fatigue type. The fibers less resistant to fatigue and more slowly contracting would presumably be used primarily for displays and agonistic interactions, whereas fast fibers with abundant mitochondria would be associated with continuous movements during feeding and grooming.
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Vol. 30 • No. 8