Concerning the number and type of the hemoglobin components, the moray Muraena helena is characterized by three different phenotypes whose frequencies are nearly identical. Thus, the cathodal component is present in all individuals, whereas one or both of two anodal components may be present in the same phenotype. These components have been separated by chromatography. The oxygen binding properties of the purified hemoglobin components have been studied in the absence and presence of saturating concentrations of ATP or GTP and as a function of pH. The cathodal component shows an intrinsic O2 affinity four times higher than that of both anodal components, a very small Bohr effect and a significant decrease in O2 affinity upon addition of ATP and GTP (three and four times respectively with respect to stripped conditions), the latter being more effective than the former over the entire pH range examined. The anodal components do not appear functionally distinguishable and show the presence of an enhanced Bohr effect (Root effect) that is under the strict control of nucleotide triphosphates ATP, GTP, which, unlike in the cathodic component, exert the same effect on oxygen affinity. The complete sequence of the beta chains of the cathodal and of one of the anodal components have been determined. The possible molecular basis of these different functional characteristics are discussed in the light of the globin sequence and of those amino acid residues which are known to be responsible of hemoglobin functional behaviour.