Excised liver sections of the milkfish, Chanos chanos, fry and fingerlings were studied by transmission electron microscopy. The hepatocytes underwent marked ultrastructural alterations in response to food deprivation of 10-day starvation for fry and 2 months for the fingerlings. The prominent features characterizing the hepatocytes of starved fish were: a reduction of cell and nucleus size; apparent loss of nucleoli; condensation of chromatin material in fry; loss of stored glycogen; reduction of ER profiles; increase in the number of electron-dense bodies containing large amounts of iron in fingerlings; and an increase in mitochondrial size. These changes were reversible following short periods of re-feeding, i.e. 2 days for fry and 4 days for fingerlings, using natural food for the fry and formulated diet for the fingerlings.