Known phasic and tonic muscle fibers of the crab Cancer magister were studied by electron microscopy. Phasic fibers have sarcomeres about 4.5 µ long, small polygonal myofibrils, and a well-developed sarcoplasmic reticulum. The thick myofilaments, disposed in hexagonal array, are each surrounded by six thin filaments. The tonic fibers have a sarcomere length of about 12 µ, larger myofibrils, a poorly developed sarcoplasmic reticulum, and a disorderly array of myofilaments. Each thick myofilament is surrounded by 10–12 thin filaments. The same morphological type of slow muscle has been found in the crustaceans, Macrocyclops albidus, Cypridopsis vidua, and Balanus cariosus, in each case in an anatomical location consistent with tonic action. A search of the literature indicates that this type of muscle is found in all classes of arthropods and is confined to visceral and postural muscles or specializations of these.

This content is only available as a PDF.