Elastic cartilage is characterized by the presence of relatively large numbers of elastic fibers (tip arrowhead) in its intercellular substance; otherwise, it is quite similar to hyaline cartilage. In this slide (250X) of the external ear, observe the interlacing network of refractile, acidophilic and homogenous elastic fibers in the intercellular matrix. As in hyaline cartilage, collagenous fibers are present in the basophilic intercellular substance but are not visible. Note the scattered chondrocytes and the apparent absence of cell nests.
Fibrocartilage develops in areas which require great tensile strength and support. Such areas are the MENISCI in joints, BONE-TENDON JUNCTIONS, and INTERVERTEBRAL DISCS.