Environmental contamination of ground and surface waters by perchlorate, derived from ammonium perchlorate (AP) and other perchlorate salts, is of increasing concern. Exposure to perchlorate can impair the thyroid endocrine system, which is thought to modulate renal and immune function in vertebrates. This study with zebrafish Danio rerio and eastern mosquitofish Gambusia holbrooki examined the histological effects of perchlorate on the trunk kidney, which in teleosts serves excretory and hemopoietic functions and therefore may be a target of perchlorate effects. Adult zebrafish of both sexes were exposed in the laboratory to waterborne, AP-derived perchlorate at measured concentrations of 18 mg/L for 8 weeks. Adult male mosquitofish were exposed to waterborne sodium perchlorate at measured perchlorate concentrations of 1-92 mg/L for 8 weeks. Control fish were kept in untreated water. The region of the body cavity containing the trunk kidney was processed from each fish for histological analysis. Macrophage aggregates (MAs), possible markers of contaminant exposure or immunotoxic effect, were present in the hemopoietic region of the kidney in both species exposed to perchlorate. The estimated percent area of kidney sections occupied by MAs was greater in zebrafish exposed to perchlorate at 18 mg/L (P < 0.05) than in controls. In male mosquitofish, the incidence of renal MAs increased proportionally with sodium perchlorate concentration and was significantly different from that of controls at 92 mg/L (P < 0.05). These observations confirm that in fish the kidney is affected by exposure to perchlorate. The concentrations of perchlorate at which the effects were noted are relatively high but within the range reported in some contaminated habitats.