It is well known that shortening velocity and maximal tension of muscle preparations are strongly dependent on experimental temperature. Conversely, studies about temperature effects on muscle fibre stiffness are scarce. In the present study, we measured tension and stiffness of maximally Ca2+-activated skinned rat skeletal muscle fibres of different types over a wide temperature range. All fibre types exhibited a similar tension/stiffness ratio at each experimental temperature. This ratio increased almost linearly from 6 to 18 nm when the temperature was raised from 6 to 34 °C. Our results are discussed in the light of the drastic discrepancies reported for the amount of compliance inside and outside the attached myosin cross-bridges of activated muscle fibres (Ford et al. 1981, Huxley et al. 1994, Kojima et al. 1994, Wakabayashi et al. 1994, Higuchi et al. 1995). The relation between these compliances had been deduced from various experimental approaches executed at different temperatures. The large temperature sensitivity of the tension/stiffness ratio found in this study provides evidence for the assumption that the compliance outside the cross-bridges increases with rising temperature. This view would reconcile the contrasting results reported for the relation of compliances inside and outside the attached cross-bridges.