Difference Between Red and White Muscle

Red and white muscle fibre are named according to their appearance. Red muscle fibre has numerous myoglobin so, they appear red in colour and in the case of white muscle fibre myoglobin content is less so appears white.

Red muscle fibre has a rich supply of blood vessels but in white muscle fibre they are comparatively lesser in number.

One can develop red muscle fibre by repeated contraction of that specific muscle like in marathon athletes who develop red fibre in their thigh muscle due to repeated contraction.

S.No.Red muscle fibreWhite muscle fibre
1.Have a large number of blood vessels are presentComparatively less number of blood vessels are present
2.It depends on aerobic respiration for the production of ATP, which means O2 is required for respirationIt depends on anaerobic respiration, which means O2 is not required for this process
3.Lactic acid does not accumulateLactic acid accumulates by glycolysis Soon gets fatigued
4.Fatigue occurs slowly Fatigue occurs rapidly
5.Contraction speed is less powerfulContraction speed is more powerful
6.Mitochondria present in more in numberMitochondria present in less in number
7.The sarcoplasmic reticulum is less extensiveThe sarcoplasmic reticulum is more extensive
8.Involved in slow, prolonged, and continued activity as it undergoes sustained contractionNot involved in prolonged and continued activity as it relaxes immediately
9.The response is slow but with a long latent periodTheir response is fast but for a short latent period
10.Have high myoglobin (oxygen storing pigment) number so, it appears dark red in colourHave high myoglobin number so, it appears red in colour
11.These are thin and smaller in size because of the small diameter of fibre, fewer myofibrilsThese are thick and larger in size.
12.Example: Extensor muscle of upper limb (Latissimus dorsi, teres major, and triceps brachii) and lower limb (biceps femoris, gluteus maximus, and quadriceps)Example: Muscles involved in the movement of the eyeball
Difference between red and white muscle fibre


  1. Healthnise.com
  2. Scienceneo.com

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