Post-hatching growth of lateral muscle in a teleost fish, Sparus aurata (L) was studied morphometrically to identify and quantify muscle fibre hyperplasia and hypertrophy, and by in vivo nuclear labelling with 5-bromo-deoxyuridine to identify areas of myoblast proliferation. Muscle fibre types were identified principally by myosin ATPase histochemistry and immunostaining, and labelled nuclei were identified at light and electronmicroscope level by immunostaining with a specific monoclonal antibody. Hyperplastic growth was slow at hatching, but then increased to a maximum at the mid-point of larval life. Larval hyperplastic growth occurred by apposition of new fibres along proliferation zones, principally just under the lateral line and in the apical regions of the myotome, but also just under the superficial monolayer at intermediate positions. The first of these zones gave rise to slow and pink muscle fibres, in a process which continued through into postlarval life. The other zones added new fibres to the fast-white muscle layer in a process which was exhausted by the end of larval life. Post-larvally, between 60 and 90 days posthatching, a new hyperplastic process started in the fast-white muscle as nuclei proliferated and new muscle fibres were formed throughout the whole layer. This process resulted in a several-fold increase in the number of fast-white fibres over a few weeks, and then waned to very low levels in juveniles. Hyperplasia by apposition continued for some time postlarvally on the deep surface of the superficial monolayer, but at this stage gave rise to slow fibres only. Hypertrophic growth occurred at all ages, but was the dominant mechanism of muscle growth only in the juvenile and adult stages. Mechanisms giving rise to these different growth processes in fish muscle are discussed, and compared with muscle development in higher vertebrates.