Hepatic microsomes prepared from 10 fish species from Bermuda were studied to establish features of cytochrome P450 (CYP) systems in tropical marine fish. The majority (7/10) of the species had total P450 content between 0.1 and 0.5 nmol/mg, and cytochrome b5 content between 0.025 and 0.25 nmol/mg. Ethoxycoumarin O-deethylase (ECOD) and aminopyrine N-demethylase (APND) rates in these 7 species were 0.23-2.1 nmol/min/mg and 0.5-11 nmol/min/mg, respectively, similar to rates in many temperate fish species. In contrast to those 7 species, sergeant major (Abudefduf saxatilis) and Bermuda chub (Kyphosus sectatrix) had microsomal P450 contents near 1.7 nmol/mg, among the highest values reported in untreated fish, and had greater rates of ECOD, APND, ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase (EROD) and pentoxyresorufin O-depentylase than did most of the other species. Freshly caught individuals of all species had detectable levels of EROD and aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH) activities. Those individuals with higher rates of EROD activity had greater content of immunodetected CYP1A protein, consistent with Ah-receptor agonists acting to induce CYP1A in many fish in Bermuda waters. Injection of tomtate and blue-striped grunt with beta-naphthoflavone (BNF; 50 or 100 mg/kg) induced EROD rates by 25 to 55-fold, suggesting that environmental induction in some fish was slight compared with the capacity to respond. AHH rates were induced only 3-fold in these same fish. The basis for disparity in the degree of EROD and AHH induction is not known. Rates of APND and testosterone 6 beta- and 16 beta-hydroxylase were little changed by BNF, indicating that these are not CYP1A activities in these fish. Antibodies to phenobarbital-inducible rat CYP2B1 or to scup P450B, a putative CYP2B, detected one or more proteins in several species, suggesting that CYP2B-like proteins are highly expressed in some tropical fishes. Generally, species with greater amounts of total P450 had greater amounts of proteins related to CYP2B. These species also had appreciable amounts of CYP3A-like proteins. Thus, many fishes in Bermuda appear to have induced levels of CYP1A; some also have unusually high levels of total P450 and of CYP2B-like and CYP3A-like proteins. These species may be good models for examining the structural, functional and regulatory properties of teleost CYP and the environmental or ecological factors contributing to high levels of expression of CYP in some fishes.