The estuarine crustaceans are exposed to frequent and abrupt environmental salinity changes that involve adjustments at different levels in muscle tissue. The histochemical composition of fiber types of the claw closer muscle of Cyrtograpsus angulatus and Neohelice granulata (Dana, 1851) under hyper regulatory conditions was analyzed. Cryosections of the muscle were treated with myosin-adenosine triphosphatase (m-ATPase), succinic dehydrogenase (SDH), periodic acid Schiff (PAS) and Sudan Black B. The mean diameters, the relative area and the proportion of each muscle fiber type were calculated. Types I and IV would belong to ‘extreme’ groups, whereas types II and III would be considered ‘intermediate’. Type I fibers were large and exhibited a weak reaction to all techniques; type IV fibers were small and reacted strongly to histochemical tests. Types II and III prevailed in C. angulatus whereas type II predominated in N. granulata. Type IV fibers were absent in C. angulatus and scarce in N. granulata. The claw closer muscle of N. granulata and C. angulatus exhibited differential responses under reduced salinity at a histochemical level. Therefore, the existence of different adjustment mechanisms facing salinity stress is suggested.
KEY WORDS: Euryhaline crabs; Histochemistry; Hyper regulation; Muscle fibers; Salinity stress.