New data on the ultrastructural features of the elasmoid scales of Carassius auratus have been obtained by use of rapid freezing with subsequent freeze-substitution in anhydrous solvents. These are compared with the results obtained using conventional aqueous fixatives. The external layer of the scales is composed of randomly oriented collagen fibres. In the first stages of mineralization, mineral deposits are located in the interfibrillary substance where dense granules appear to be active sites of mineralization. Spheritic mineralization occurs in this layer. The fibrillary plate is composed of two kinds of collagen fibres. Most of them are organized in lamellae forming the “plywood-like structure”. They are thicker than the so-called “TC fibres”, which are oriented from the basal part towards the superficial layer. These TC fibres are involved in the first stages of mineral deposition in the fibrillary plate where inotropic mineralization occurs. The mineral phase is almost always located in the interfibrillary matrix in both layers of the elasmoid scale. In this respect, teleost scales differ from those described so far in other lower vertebrates.
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