Teleost fishes, living in fresh water, engage in active ion uptake to maintain ion homeostasis. Current models for NaCl uptake involve Na(+) uptake via an apical amiloride-sensitive epithelial Na(+) channel (ENaC), energized by an apical vacuolar-type proton pump (V-ATPase) or alternatively by an amiloride-sensitive Na(+)/H(+) exchange (NHE) protein, and apical Cl(−) uptake mediated by an electroneutral, SITS-sensitive Cl(−)/HCO(3-) anion-exchange protein. Using non-homologous antibodies, we have determined the cellular distributions of these ion-transport proteins to test the predicted models. Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase was used as a cellular marker for differentiating branchial epithelium mitochondria-rich (MR) cells from pavement cells. In both the freshwater tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), V-ATPase and ENaC-like immunoreactivity co-localized to pavement cells, although apical labelling was also found in MR cells in the trout. In the freshwater tilapia, apical anion-exchanger-like immunoreactivity is found in the MR cells. Thus, a freshwater-type MR chloride cell exists in teleost fishes. The NHE-like immunoreactivity is associated with the accessory cell type and with a small population of pavement cells in tilapia.