- Abstract Carotenoids were separated by high-performance liquid chromatography from organ homogenates of pre-vitellogenic (oocyte diameter∼ 300μm) and late-vitellogenic (oocyte diameter> 1mm) Cherax quadricarinatus females. Carotenoids were present predominantly in the cuticle and in the late-vitellogenic ovary. Smaller amounts were present in the hepatopancreas, and almost no carotenoids were found in the muscular tissue. The cuticle contained mostly esterified astaxanthins. The ovaries contained mostly non-esterified astaxanthin. Pre-vitellogenic ovaries were also relatively rich in lutein, whereas late- vitellogenic ovaries were relatively rich in β-carotene. The hepatopancreas contained mostly β-carotene. Possible roles for the different carotenoids in the cuticle and ovary of the crayfish are discussed.