The reflecting cells on the scales of sprat and herring contain ordered arrays of guanine crystals. The spacing of the crystals within these cells determines the wave bands of the light which they reflect, hence volume changes in the reflecting cells can be observed as color changes directly. This property of the scales is used to show that (a) fixation with osmium tetroxide solutions destroys osmotic activity; (b) fixation with aldehyde solutions does not destroy osmotic activity and does not cause volume changes if the aldehydes are made up in salt or sucrose solutions whose osmolarities, discounting the aldehyde, are about 60% of those to which the cells are in equilibrium in life, and (c) after aldehyde fixation the cells are osmotically active but come to a given volume in salt and sucrose solutions of concentrations only 60% of those which give their volume before fixation. Various possible mechanisms underlying the change of osmotic equilibrium caused by aldehyde fixation are discussed.

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