Previous studies on non-diadromous euryhaline teleosts introduced a hypothesis that the lowest level of gill Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase (NKA) activity occurs in the environments with salinity close to the primary natural habitats of the studied species. To provide more evidence of the hypothesis, two medaka species, Oryzias latipes and O. dancena, whose primary natural habitats are fresh water (FW) and brackish water (BW) environments, respectively, were compared from levels of mRNA to cells in this study. The plasma osmolalities of O. latipes and O. dancena were lowest in the FW individuals. The muscle water contents of O. latipes decreased with elevated external salinities, but were constant among FW-, BW-, and seawater (SW)-acclimated O. dancena. Expression of NKA, the primary driving force of ion transporters in gill ionocytes, revealed different patterns in the two Oryzias species. The highest NKA alpha-subunit mRNA abundances were found in the gills of the SW O. latipes and the FW O. dancena, respectively. The pattern of NKA activity and alpha-subunit protein abundance in the gills of O. latipes revealed that the FW group was the lowest, while the pattern in O. dancena revealed that the BW group was the lowest. Immunohistochemical staining showed similar profiles of NKA immunoreactive (NKIR) cell activities (NKIR cell numberxcell size) in the gills of these two species among FW, BW, and SW groups. Taken together, O. latipes exhibited better hyposmoregulatory ability, while O. dancena exhibited better hyperosmoregulatory ability. Our results corresponding to the hypothesis indicated that the lowest branchial NKA activities of these two medaka species were found in the environments with salinities similar to their natural habitats.