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The carotenoid pigments of the hepatopancreas, ovaries and epidermis of Carcinus maenas were investigated. The following pigments were identified: β-carotene, δ-carotene, echinenone, isocryptoxanthin, canthaxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, flavoxanthin and astacene.

The relative abundance of these pigments in the three tissues and the presence of possible hydroxy and keto intermediates suggest the metabolism of astaxanthin from β-carotene. The metabolic pathway in Carcinus is discussed in relation to recent studies on other invertebrates.