Intestinal and gall-bladder epithelial cells in sticklebacks have been examined in ultrathin sections and freeze-etch replicas. Enterocytes throughout the intestine appear to have a well-developed basal labyrinth similar to that of renal tubular cells, consisting of baso-lateral infoldings closely associated with numerous mitochondria. The lumen inside these intracellular membranes is continuous with the intercellular space via pores. Such a membrane system is also present in the epithelial cells lining the gall bladder, distinguishing them from gall-bladder cells of higher vertebrates. Morphometric analysis indicates that the basal labyrinth of enterocytes in the posterior part of the intestine increases markedly in both sexually mature males and androgen-treated females. This does not occur in the anterior part or gall bladder. In sticklebacks, androgens cause reduced urine excretion and enhanced fluid release via the anus. We conclude that the cells lining the intestine and gall bladder possess an extensive basal labyrinth that may function as a backward channel system, enabling fluid to be produced in the intestine of fish. The androgen-induced increase in the extent of the basal labyrinth in the posterior part of the intestine may be related to the enhanced rate of intestinal fluid excretion observed in sexually mature male sticklebacks.