When placed in a temperature gradient, most ectotherms have a strict thermal preference that is lowered on exposure to hypoxia. Branchiopods, small aquatic crustaceans, are known to synthesise haemoglobin (Hb) when exposed to hypoxia; hypoxia can occur diurnally and seasonally in ponds. The effect of Hb on behavioural thermoregulation in the branchiopod Daphnia carinata following exposure to both normoxia and hypoxia was examined. Control animals raised in normoxia (Po2=150 mmHg, [Hb]=0.026+/-0.007 mg g dry wt-1) and Hb-rich animals raised in hypoxia (Po2=70 mmHg, [Hb]=0.080+/-0.017 mg g dry wt-1) were placed (N=30) in a tube (length=500 mm, diameter=8 mm) filled with pond water. In the absence of a thermal gradient, control and Hb-rich animals in normoxic water were uniformly distributed along the tube. The presence of a thermal gradient (13 degrees -28 degrees C) elicited clustering at a preferred temperature, T approximately 23 degrees C for both groups. Exposure to hypoxic water in a thermal gradient resulted in a behavioural shift: T approximately 16 degrees C for controls and T approximately 19 degrees C for Hb-rich animals. Measurements of oxygen consumption (V&d2;o2) at fixed temperatures revealed that Hb is associated with a metabolic acclimation to hypoxia.