Abstract The oviducts of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana, contain octopamine (determined by radioenzymatic assay) and proctolin (determined from proctolin-like bioactivity following separation on reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography). Octopamine content is 5–10-fold greater than proctolin content. Both substances are released in a calcium-dependent manner following depolarisation with high potassium saline. This method resulted in the release of 14% of the total store of octopamine, but only 0.3% of the total store of proctolin. The results are discussed in relation to the recent demonstration of octopamine-containing and proctolin-containing neurones associated with locust oviducts.