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The gills of the European eel, Anguilla unguilla L. were analysed morphometrically. Fresh (unfixed) gills and resin-replica casts of the branchial vascular system were examined. The total gill surface area was found to be proportional to (body mas)0-715 for fish of between 60 and 1 160 g. This relationship between gill surfxe area and body mass was maintained irrespective of a reduction in body mass produced by fasting. Vessel dimensions were obtained from the vascular casts. Calculations made using these values suggest that the major sites of gill vascular resistance lie at the level of the afferent lamellar arterioles and the secondary lamellae.